by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa
This is a guardian angel post. Written to Cape gardeners for biodiversity. Even if you can't abide snakes - get to know the tabakrolletjie. Duberria lutrix (common slug eater). GOOD guy. Please be kind to him! Don’t kill off these snakes by feeding them snail bait in dead and dying snails. If your garden is well mulched, some of these little snakes are living in your garden. Beneath logs and stones, or near the pond – wherever the snails are living.
Remember that old nursery rhyme – what are little boys made of? Frogs and snails and puppy dog’s tails. You are what you eat. Meet that “little boy – made of snails!” The slugeater, is one of the good guys because he, eats snails.
I know that is true, because only once in twenty years of gardening in Camps Bay, did I see the life and death struggle slowly play out. The snake had caught a snail. The snail doesn’t want to be eaten, so he resists. The snake hangs on like grim death. Grim. Death. Until the snail tires … and the rest, is Lunch.