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Snails’ 1,800-mile trip to Flitcham (by air)

Val Blackmur collects some of the tiny visitors she believes fell out of the sky ( ANL-140813-142611001

Val Blackmur collects some of the tiny visitors she believes fell out of the sky ( ANL-140813-142611001

A group of foreign visitors dropped out of the sky in West Norfolk this week having apparently flown some 1,800 miles from the Canaries.

They were found by Flitcham resident Val Blackmur when out for a stroll with friend Claire Mott early on Monday.

She said: “We suddenly found we were crunching something underfoot. We stooped down to look see what it was. To start with we though it was large grains of corn.”

But closer inspection showed them to be minute snails, less than a centimetre long, covering Icknield Way. Hundreds were spread across a 20 yard stretch of the road and the two friends collected handfuls and took them home.

Mrs Blackmur’s book on snails indicated they were probably a variety of rissoid snails called parchment rissoa, normally found in eel grass habitats in shallow salt water from Norway and the Baltic down to the Canary Isles in the Atlantic.

Mrs Blackmur said: “On Monday we were suffering the tail of Hurricane Bertha which came across the Atlantic so I think they may have been lifted up off the shores of the Canaries by the high winds and brought to Flitcham.

“I put them in a cereal bowl and the next day some of them had come out of their shells and were all over the bowl and some had stuck to its sides. They must be nocturnal.

“I’ll keep them for a while in case anyone would like to inspect them though I don’t know how long they may survive.”

Eel grass is not that common in Norfolk but can be found locally off Brancaster and Wells, as well as at Breydon Water, near Yarmouth.

 

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