Detail from ‘The Midsummer Night’s Fairies’ by Robert Huskisson

A friend posted this on FB this week. I really really love this image and I’m so glad I saw it (thanks, Tim!) The tiny guys have clearly been fighting bravely, but ineffectively and are now in retreat. Except the one unlucky one who is getting a snail eye to the chest. I normally can’t help snickering when I see pictures of naked warriors (because why? why go to war naked? Artists! Just portray naked guys without all the war trappings! It’s okay, I promise.) But I guess if you’re going to fight a snail with drum major batons you may as well fight naked. There’s not a lot of pointiness in a baton or a snail to make you regret your nakedness decision.

Aside from the little naked warriors, I cannot stop thinking about snails now, and whether they’d be dangerous if I were the size of these guys. I know they can put away a lot of leaf in a night, so I started wondering what their mouths were like. The holes they leave in leaves are pretty chomp-y looking.

Shamelessly stolen from UC Museum of Paleontology (, which you should go look at it immediately.

And now we know. If Huskisson also knew what a snail mouth looks like, it puts a slightly different spin on the little men running away so desperately from it.


No teeth. Only raspy tongues, like tiny slimy toothless cats. Assuming that Huskisson did not know what a snail mouth looks like, I believe the little warriors are needlessly worried,  unless the snail is checking him out with its eyestalk to see if he is raspable.

I would now like to capture a snail and give it some leaves and see if it checks them out with its eyes before eating them. Also, I’d like to look at the edges of slug holes, because they always looked very crisp to me, like the edges of grasshopper bites, but they must not be, and I’d like to see that. Alas, such must wait until summer and figuring a way to lure some snails, because I haven’t seen a single one in New England yet.If I had some tiny naked warriors to use for bait, that might help.

And now for some snail knitting content.


About sayingthings

K lives in the US with her man and kiddos, knits, cans, dehydrates, bakes bread, (but doesn't cook regular food, particularly), crochets, spins, gardens, studies for a degree that never seems to end, and um, works. Sometimes she wastes time online. Also -- and family, she's looking at you here -- sometimes she swears and says things you might not agree with. But she still loves you.

Posted on December 5, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Brave warriors fight naked to prove they are more brave than warriors with armour. Man are strange. Snails are cool, and slightly sparkly.

  2. Olivia adores snails. She did a big project/report on them in first grade. I learned a lot from it!

    • Funny how that happens. My son did a first grade report on octopus, and I learned quite a few things from him.

      • Hm. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a sparkly one. I’d like to, though. I haven’t, in fact, seen any snails in New England yet. Only a few slugs.

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