Adventures in Ethics and Science

Another morning, another gastropod foray.

Conditions in the yard were a little odd this morning, owing to the fact that our wee patch of lawn was watered last night. This means that conditions were moist in the vicinity of the lawn but fairly dry otherwise.

Strangely, the lawn itself was not hosting many slugs or snails, unlike yesterday morning. Maybe the amount of water put out by the sprinklers was too much for them. Right on the edges of the lawn area, though, there were plenty of slugs.

So, I could feel that my time was well spent.

In the regions of the yard farther from the wee patch of lawn, I found a few slugs and fewer snails. I did start noticing a fair number of potato bugs in places (leaves, stems, strawberries) where I used to see more slugs. From a distance, potato bugs are actually not so easy to distinguish from slugs, either.

Do potato bugs share a niche with slugs? Are my gastropod removal efforts going to lead to an explosion of the potato bug population?

I guess I’m going to have to keep an eye on the potato bugs to see if they do significant damage to my plants. If so, I think I can find room for them in the Soapy Bucket of Merciful Deliverance, too.

Today’s take: 50 slugs and 10 snails (eight of them very tiny).


  1. #1 NoAstronomer
    May 28, 2009

    A limited data-set produced by personal observation of my parents garden (which also has a gastropod problem) indicates that slugs and snails react to overall conditions. Not just the presence of water on the grass.

  2. #2 blf
    May 28, 2009

    Potato(e) bugs strike me as an odd starting point for breeding monsters. Or do you plan to cross them with your race of supersized flying intelligent speedy waterproof-superglue (and by now, probably nuclear-powered) gastropods? I can’t quite see what such cross-breeding will achieve, albeit according to The pffft! of all Knowledge, Wikipedia, they are apparently good at tunnelling.

    Hum… You want your new race of monsters to be able to attack from the air, surface of the land, and burst forth from underground. And that hints at the lawn overwatering: You’re also trying to select for those monsters who are good swimmers, presumably so that they can also attack by sea. (Which explains the use of salt earlier in your project, you want them to be salt-tolerant so they aren’t restricted to fresh water.)

    Land, sea (including oceans), air, underground: Next on the list is, I suppose, outer space. Or perhaps breeding them to be more tolerant of extreme heat and cold.

    Well, I guess a good mad scientist covers all her bases, but geesh! What have you got against us escargot-eaters?

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