If my snail party is measured by how active my Mystery Snails were, then it was a failure.
Pearl, my biggest Mystery Snail clung to the back of the tank hidden by the filter for the whole party. Socrates stayed as high up as he could get on another wall of the tank without moving. Ivory hid behind the green grasses, moving maybe an inch in the two hours that my guests sat in front of the fish tank in our living room.
The nerite snails were pretty scarce too. There was one that ate his way across one side of the tank, and I used the macro lens on my iphone to show everyone his thousands of teeth scraping the invisible algae off the glass.
Then Emily, my oldest nerite snail walked across the back of the tank and her friend, the little horned nerite who often rides on her back, walked across the front of the tank.
My conclusion is that snails do not like parties.
But the people who were at the party did enjoy it.
Even if the snail were hiding, there were lots of fish to look at. I found out my friend Jackie is a bit of a fish expert and knew the names of all the fish we have even the ones I didn’t. We also have four new shrimp in the tank that were very active, zooming around the tank like characters from a Dr Seuss book.
And there was food and drinks. Jon was trying out a couple of new pizza recipes and in between him cooking them we had mini quiches, hummus pinwheels and the mandarins and chocolate for dessert.
Even though the snails were pretty quiet, the animals in the tank did keep us focused enough that our conversation stayed on topic.
Carolyn told us some interesting snails facts that I had never heard before.
Sometimes when mating, a certain kind of snail will get his penis stuck in the female and one or the other of them will chew it off. Without his penis, the male is able to mate as a female. It’s called Appophallation.
I didn’t read all the passages I had bookmarked in “The Sound of A Wild Snail Eating” but I did show some of my videos and photos of the snails. And Athena took some videos to show her daughter. I forgot to show everyone the link that Anne, sent me of miniature snail dioramas by Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland. I also forgot to show everyone a photo of Jackie’s new snail painting.
But even with all I forgot, everyone at my Snail Party, for their own reasons, seemed to be genuinely interested in the animals swimming around the fish tank.
Our fish aren’t especially exotic, and sleeping snails can hardly compete with most of what we can see on our iPhones. Yet those small and somewhat ordinary creatures brought us together on a cold, dark night and sparked our wonder and curiosity. And we appreciated the significance and importance of these often-overlooked creatures.
It makes me think that Snail Parties could be good for us humans.