Sunday, April 18

Scene of mass murder

We all have one don't we - a part of the garden seldom visited and a bit neglected? Ours, (well one of ours), is the top of the garden behind the greenhouse. The other day I strayed into this area to find this:

The photo only shows a small proportion of the smashed empty snail shells.

Over winter we noticed that a song thrush - it could have been more than one -was a regular visitor to the garden. So I guess it has found this part of our garden to be an ideal spot for disposing of its victims. It's typical song thrush debris. I know it's a bit gruesome but I hope that it keeps up its efforts to control our snail population.

I regularly find empty snail shells in other areas of the garden but they have been intact so I'm not sure whether we have other snail hunters with a different technique for winkling out the soft bodies. Could it be frogs using their tongues to hook the snails out or could some sort of parasite get into the shell to dispose of them from within? An ideas?

I came across a hedghog in the garden this week; it was still fast asleep. Fortunately I was carefully moving a pile of dead leaves from a flower bed. I say fortunately as I could have been raking them up with a garden fork and inadvertently injured it. As I had disrupted its sleeping arrangements - I had to gently relocate it under a shrub and cover it with a pile of dry leaves. Contrary to popular information the hedgehogs in our garden don't seem to have a taste for slugs etc - well who can really blame them? We have often watched hedgehogs walk past or even over slugs without so much as a sniff. I know hedgehogs have poor eyesight but their noses work really well so they can't have just missed them. 

Update on tadpoles:
I'm not sure whether the fish have finally disposed of all the tadpoles or whether they have wriggled off into the bowels of the pond. Let's hope it's the latter! The pond liner is black and so they would be really difficult to spot. This means no more photos unless they become visible again - sorry!

If you want to read more about the wildlife that shares our garden and our allotment plots then visit our website here


  1. One of my favourite birds with the added bonus that it's an avid snail killer!

  2. It's a beautiful picture of the song thrush...I'm now wondering how I can build a perfect thrush habitat to combat!

    I can't believe you have a hedgehog hibernating in your garden...that's very special...I love the little cr4eatures and have one that uses my garden as it's path for it's usual foraging trail but doesn't hang around too long.
    I am hoping to think of good ways to attract more wildlife to my own garden and the allotment this year as I love to see them and also they all have their own little jobs to do to help things along...well except for the slugs...eewwww...who ever told them to exist!!!

  3. We have a storage bench on our plot - the seat lifts up and we keep all our tools and stuff inside as we have no shed. Over winter it slowly filled up with empty snail shells and mouse droppings... I wonder if that could be your other predator. Thrushes are far better though - they don't dig things out of your compost or eat your seedlings!

  4. What a super snail-murderer. Ours smashes the shells on some stone steps.

    We had a hedgehog here last year, not seen any signs yet, hope yours is OK.

  5. When I took on the allotment, I found loads of empty and smashed snail shells next to the compost bin. I just wish the same predator would eat the slugs, I'm inundated with them.

  6. Damo - I love thrushes too and am glad to see them making something of a revival - they were totally missing from our garden for ages.

    Tanya - I'm going to do a piece on biodiversity for my website - water is a good draw as is at least one area where the grass is allowed to grow a little longer - a patch on nettles too is good.

    Nome We do get a few field mice so maybe it is them - I wonder how they get the snails out without smashing the shell?

    Bilbo I hope so too - we feed them during summer - they live one of the bird foods that we buy for blackbirds etc. We had a small one in autumn that we had to take off to an animal sanctuary as it was too small to survive the winter without help.

    Jo I suppose because slugs tend to hide undergfround during the day they are less available to thrushes.

  7. great photo of the song thrush - fab wee allies in the garden. Oh I and a hedgehog too and tabpoles - a varitable wildlife haven! xx (except if you happen to be a snail, hahaha)

  8. Hi Carrie
    Aphids and caterpillars watch out too as a pair of bluetits are setting up home in one of our nesting boxes - I also think a robin is nesting in one of our camellias.


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