Snails are one shell of a mystery
The mysterious manifestation of thousands of snail shells has people scratching their heads but attempts to solve the mystery have taken a careful step in the right direction.
Blenheim couple David and Pat Olliver were puzzled by the sudden appearance of the tiny shells on their drive and footpath every time it rained.
Following a report in the Marlborough Midweek, David says he was swamped by people offering possible answers.
Leprechauns, fairies, greedy birds, hibernation gone wrong and a population boom have all been suggested.
While the minuscule visitors have finally been identified as eccentric grass snails (Vallonia excentrica), David is still in the dark as to why they love his driveway so much.
‘‘We were visited by a couple who live in Arthur Baker Pl who have the same problem. They even brought a shell to show us and there’s no doubt it’s the same thing.
‘‘They look exactly the same and only appear after it’s rained but, like us, they have no idea where they come from.
‘‘It’s not like something is eating them all as the shells would be crushed. It would have to be a very tiny animal that could get into these without breaking the shell at all.’’
Eccentric grass snails grow to between 1.2 and 2.3 millimetres in size.
The species was originally found in the Mediterranean and Western Europe and are not native to New Zealand.
One theory put forward was that the mini mollusks are being disturbed by the rain but David says that doesn’t explain why they end up on his footpath.
‘‘The shells seem to be completely empty but I don’t think they’re being eaten as they are all intact still.
‘‘We would love to hear from anybody who has any ideas. Somebody’s already suggested it could be leprechauns but I don’t think they eat snails.’’
Hordes of tiny snails at home on David Olliver’s driveway have been identified as Eccentric Grass Snails but how they got there is still a mystery.