Why have these snails gathered like limpets? Readers’ nature queries
Ethna Viney on stamping seagulls, Egyptian grasshoppers and the tadpole belt
One of Sean Mullan’s snail-covered posts
On the sandhills above Ballyhiernan Bay, on the Fanad Peninsula, I saw these posts covered in snails and wondered why they had all crawled together, like limpets on a rock. – Sean Mullan, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
The snails are hibernating safely off the ground to avoid predators.
I watched seagulls fishing for worms in Trinity College Dublin. How did they discover that stamping the ground would bring worms to the surface? – Angela Reddy, Sandymount, Dublin
It is a learnt activity; adults have been seen teaching young ones how to do it. Some say that prancing while mating may have pointed the way.
The animal in my photograph was seen in a yard on a marshy industrial estate near Finglas in Dublin. It was about 8cm long and, according to my colleague, hopped away. – Michael Hyland, Cornelscourt, Dublin
The length of the insect rules out the native grasshopper or crickets. It could be a foreigner imported with plants and produce or as food for reptile pets. It resembles the Egyptian grasshopper.
The tadpoles arrived on January 25th in our pond, 200ft above Kenmare Bay. Are they later this year? – Neal Cahill, Kenmare, Co Kerry
They are probably more or less on time. The south gets the earliest frogspawn and, two weeks later, the tadpoles. As the year progresses, the spawn and tadpole belt moves up the country.
Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a postal address