Old Mountain View Unite! in the battle against snails

by Carter Coleman

I awoke with a start in a cold sweat. Terrified. But I couldn’t remember what I had been dreaming about.

It bothered me as I took my morning coffee out on the patio. As I tried to remember my dream, I noticed a silver trail meander like a drunken sailor across the patio tiles. And then all at once it hit me.

“I watched a snail slither across the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream. That’s my nightmare.” Marlon Brando, Apocolypse Now. It was my nightmare too. Although I’m not sure what Marlon Brando meant, for me, the nightmare was that the snail survived.


It was war. War with a slimy, wily opponent who attacks under cloak of darkness.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHzMPJznJA8[/youtube]After the abundant spring rains, my property is awash with snails. In the night I can actually hear them munching on the Agapanthus and Acanthus. Or maybe that’s just my imagination.

I recalled that in Australia, they had constructed a Rabbit Proof Fence across Australia. Might we do the same thing for snails? I decided to confer with a neighbor on Bush Street.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLGH–r79IY[/youtube]Carolyn warmed instantly to the idea of a snail-proof fence, most likely from her Aussie background. “And then you can get federal funding,” she pointed out. I had never thought of it, but it was a most excellent idea.

My neighbor Brad also supported me in the Snail-Proof Fence concept, although I noticed that he was edging away from me as we talked.

Perhaps a copper barrier might be the way to go for the fence, but neighbor Jim Hollingsworth thought that perhaps the snails would jump over the copper fence. Jim obviously has not spent much time watching snails.

I also conferred with avid gardener Anne on Bush Street. How did she handle snails? “I tried beer,” she told me, “but the only time it worked was when someone threw a beer bottle in the front yard…but all the bowls of beer I set out didn’t really catch them.”

“Why waste good beer,” Carolyn opined.

In the end, rather than going the beer route, we opted for picking up the snails and putting them in a yard on the other side of El Camino. (Just kidding!)

If you want to support our effort to make Old Mountain View snail free, join us! Leave a comment on this article and see the snail video.

Carter is Treasurer of OMVNA, but his opinions on snails are his personal views and do not reflect the opinions of Old Mountain View residents.

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