Saturday, 19 April 2014

What is the Deal with Snails?






 
A quick check in the Country Park reveals several latrines, but also the caches of nibbled snail shells I've seen before, some right next to water vole droppings. Is it water voles who are eating them? Or field voles, or rats? I would love to know.

9 comments:

Robert Denny said...

http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/water-vole.html#cr

Perhaps not so unusual! Rather than a "change" in diet I expect it has always occurred and was taken for granted by observers when they were common and we are just rediscovering it now. After all Chimpanzees were regarded as vegetarian until relatively recently. I do buy into the extra protein theory.

Kate said...

Yes, I remember that report! And in the book on water voles by S A Ryder, there's a report of a captive pregnant water vole eating a dead perch. But I'd like to see it with my own eyes. After all, lots of animals use the river banks, and I've found piles of frogs which have been eaten by otters but lay among water vole signs. A puzzle!

WendyB said...

Maybe the voles have something to do with (some of) the frog remains too - I read this article recently:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/7681426/Water-voles-develop-taste-for-frogs-legs.html

Hope you manage to catch them in the act sometime with the snails! They seem to like bread BTW - and regularly sneak out to pinch the leftovers after people have fed the ducks on our local watercourse.

I have a nice pic, but don't know how to attach it to this message...

WendyB said...

P.S. Oops, just realised Robert's link is about the frogs legs too!

Kate said...

I've heard people say they've seen water voles taking bread from under bird feeders in gardens. And I once saw one swim off with a chip. But wouldn't it be nice to have some definitive footage of non-veggie voles? Would love to see your pics sometime - let me know if you have a Flikr page or you're on Wild About Britain or wherever.

WendyB said...

Hi. Is there an email where I could send some pics as JPEGs? I don't do Flikr and the like (yet?!)

Good luck trying to catch the non-veggie voles in the act (maybe it's a night-time secret activity!)

Kate said...

If you click on this page there's a link at the top which has an email address. Copy that and you can send me whatever you like.

Kate said...

Sorry - the page! http://www.katelongbooks.com/contact/

Baz said...

Hi Kate, according Strachan's Water Vole Conservation Handbook (2nd Ed. 2006) on page 13 he says that pregnant water voles have been known to augment "...their diet with freshwater molluscs and crayfish, again probably as a protein source during pregnancy." Like many animals they will seize and opportunity to get protein (a bit like me).