The blog of Laszlo Bokor

The blog of Laszlo Bokor

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Snail files, with regular updates

Hello friends,

A few days ago, I experienced an annoying thing, which has already happened many many times to many many of us before, and that is to accidentally step on a snail. If you step on a snail, you hear that unmistakably sad sound when the unfortunate little fella's shell cracks. In the majority of the cases, the shell (and the snail) suffers a serious damage, so all you can really do, no matter how bad it sounds, is to crush the snail and to put it out of its foreseeable misery. No matter how hard you try, without the shell, the snail dies.  

I was tiding up the garden when I found about six snails behind the bin, so I tried my best to migrate them to a safe spot. But, unfortunately, I did not see the seventh which ended up under my foot. Then I heard the crack sound and I instantly started feeling sad... 

...though very quickly I thought that there could be a solution. Luckily, if the snail's body is intact and the crack is not involving the entire structure, there may be hope! I went online and I found a webpage with a very positive (click here to see the post) solution to the problem and I thought I would try and help the snail recover its shell in a natural way. I also thought that I could write up my experience, so in this blog post, I will share daily updates with photos so you can follow Clarence's (this is the name of my little patient), our Garden snail (Cornu aspersum) recovery and daily life. 

~ Laszlo

>>> Posts come in timely order; scroll down for the latest updates <<<

>>> 26 July 2018 <<<
Day 1, the accident happened, the recovery process officially started by moving Clarence in a suitable plastic tub. I do not think, it needed water, but since keeping the snail wet and in a relatively humid environment, I thought a small amount of water could make the tub's atmosphere a little bit more suitable. I also put some fresh lettuce in the tub which is both food and shelter to the snail. Snails eat mostly vegetables and fruit, so I also added some blueberries to the 'hospital room'. I also made sure that I regularly checked Clarence and sprayed water on him, especially in the cracked open area which looked quite large once I removed the broken pieces.

>>> 27 July 2018 <<<
Day 2, I had a closer look at the affected area. Well, it did not look good, but it also did not look hopeless. I carried on spraying water on it. By the end of the day, a thin, slimy layer started developing which looked good.

>>> 28 July 2018 <<<
Day 3, Clarence is much livelier than the other days. I am not entirely sure if he eats yet, but it is good to see him being more active. I have also cleared out his tub and gave him fresh lettuce leaves, celery and pepper slices. He likes sliding on the tub's lid, so we have had a closer look at his shell and we also tried to catch some of his facial expressions.

>>> 29 July 2018 <<<
Day 4, it is a Sunday and it even feels like a Sunday. Clarence is also sleeping most of the time. I gave him a nice slice of fresh apple today and I have also got a small piece of cuttlefish bone sorted for him that is a good source of calcium and it should help him rebuild his shell faster.

>>> 30 July 2018 <<<
Day 5, Clarence still sleeps a lot which I assume is both its natural daily cycle and an energy-saving method during the shell-recovery period. Although, when awake, he seems to be very curious about the environment that hosts him and then he looks really lovely.

>>> 02 August 2018 <<<
Day 8, Clarence sleeps most of the time and he has not been very active in the last few days, so today I decided to wake him up and make sure he goes for a little 'slide'. I also washed his shell to make sure that he gets enough water and will not dry out. He seemed very happy about it and had a little exercise on my hand.

>>> 07 August 2018 <<<
Day 13, it looks like that our snail's shell is healing much slower than anticipated; however, Clarence itself looks fine and he is happy to wander and explore when awake. He has been sleeping a lot recently, so I felt the need to make him a more exciting environment where he has more stuff to climb on and it is just generally a bigger space. I have used a cake box for the purpose which is great in many ways: lightweight, spacious, secure and it is portable. I think he likes it so far!

>>> 09 August 2018 <<<
Day 15, the great thing is that after moving only two days of relocating Clarence into the cake box, he has completely livened up and likes wandering and exploring his new home. In fact, I can hardly see him sleeping now, he is always up for a little discovery. Another good thing is that there is evidence that he is eating which is a fantastic thing and it is very welcome.

>>> 13 August 2018 <<<
Day 19, when you have a pet snail or you, like me, look after a snail while that is in a recovery process, try to create an environment that looks almost like the snail's native wilderness. It is definitely a thing to install hiding places - for this purpose I use a clay plant pot which is very loved and used by Clarence.

>>> 19 August 2018 <<<
Day 25, Clarence has been with us for almost a month now and it is good to acknowledge how much his shell has recovered during this month. One thing is sure, recovering a large portion of snail shell that is damaged takes a lot of time and I suspect Clarence will be with us for a very long time. His shell looks awesome though, good to see that he can actually cover the damaged part so successfully.

>>> 25 August 2018 <<<
Day 31, Clarence is doing well, his shell is recovering, though as you can imagine, it is all happening very slowly. The good thing is that he seems to be happy and he enjoys his spacious and protective environment. I have a few photos of him and his home.

>>> 29 August 2018 <<<

Day 35, recently we have experienced the 'white bug' (Riccardoella limacum ~ Slug mite) infestation. I read up on the topic and found that a type of predatory mite (Hypoaspis miles, pictured below) might be a solution, so I bought a good army of these little fellas. Read more about mite-related problems.

>>> 02 September 2018 <<<

Day 39, the predatory mites did a great service, but unfortunately, they could not stop the infestation. This might be because my predatory mite army was outnumbered by the white mites. Eventually, I decided that I would fully sterilise Clarences's place. I bought a brand new bag of soil which I put into the oven for about half an hour at about 100°C. I also washed and sterilised every other item that Clarence had in the box. As the last thing, I also thoroughly washed Clarence, so made sure to do as much as possible to eradicate the white mites.


Come back for regular updates!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Why learn geography? Why learn at all?

Hi there,

I was going through my archived documents and I came across a piece of writing that I did a few years ago. It is about Geography and why I love this subject. I thought this should be posted to here, so here you are. Read it please and get motivated. 

~ Laszlo

I believe it does not matter what subject you choose to learn in the end. You must choose and learn something that makes you happy and that you will enjoy doing as a profession throughout your life. Geography has always been my hobby and some years ago, I chose to study and be a geography researcher (MSc), because for me it is the most attractive subject that I can shape, develop, and improve—and not to forget about the potential chance to travel the world. Now, I have achieved a new milestone in my life: I have also become a geography teacher (I have done PGCE). For me, no matter if I research or teach, as long as it has a link to my hobby and makes me happy, I love doing it with a great enthusiasm.

I would not like to talk about clich├ęs, but education gives you knowledge and confidence. And knowledge is valuable. It does not matter if you self-educate yourself or attend a university, as long as you keep learning something that interests you, you will gain a powerful tool that will always come handy in your life. In the social world where we all live, however, every human has to be recognised by a qualification. This is the document, your degree that you obtain once you complete your studies in a higher education institution. Why not gain a comprehensive and competitive knowledge with plenty of experience from a subject that gives you the most, enjoyable, and you can do it as a hobby? 

When you think of geography, it is not only a simple subject. Geography encompasses everything that can be seen on Earth, and everything that surrounds you in your environment. I would call it “the knowledge of everything”. You can talk about life—yes, biology is a great part of it; you can talk about the weather—yes, physics is a great part of it; or you can talk about your holiday—yes, tourism is a great part of it; talk about your beer, your coffee, your hamburger, your car, your smartphone, your telly, and so on and on, no matter what it is, everything will have some links with geography. So why not to have the ability to see behind the scenes instead of only focusing on one thing? 

Geography for many people appears to be something very complex and difficult. Truly, it is a very diverse conglomerate of scientific disciplines, but the level of difficulty is only defined by you. People always forget about the fact that everything in life and on Earth is geographic. When you drive your car, when you eat your breakfast, when you drink your coffee—all of these have geographical significance. So, in this sense, everybody on the planet is quasi a geographer. As a professional, however, you can also synthesise things and you become more aware of how your car has an impact on the economy, how your breakfast affects the natural environment, and how coffee bean production gives jobs to tens of millions of people worldwide. You will know what the difference is between physical and human geography, and how to combine them to have an outstanding and sustainable knowledge that is worth sharing with everybody. If you, however, end up teaching something different, like I have taught mathematics, you will be even more capable of raising the standards of any subject you teach with the involvement of geography. 

So, learn Geography, but at least, learn something that is important for you and not for the others!