small snail

Creeping Up

Sunday 17th September 2000, 1/2, West Yorkshire

chimneysnailVIRGINIA CREEPER has climbed to the top of the chimney on this Victorian house. It has started turning to its autumn colour and is already redder than the terra-cotta brick and chimney pots.

snail shellAs I sketch it through the window of the house next door, I notice that attached to the outside of the glass there is an object the size of a very small pea.

I bring it in to sketch and, to my surprise, it springs to life. It is a tiny snail, a perfect miniature, which stretches out its eye stalks and crawls around on my sketchbook, crossing the drawing several times as I draw, but luckily leaving only the faintest of slime trails.

small snailAgainst the light of the window it is translucent, but its shell does seem to have the start of a streaky pattern. Perhaps this is a young Brown-lipped Snail, the most conspicuous of snails alongside footpaths and in some gardens. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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