I grew up in New York. I lived in Westchester County outside the city and spent many summer months exploring the forests upstate in the Catskill Mountains. As a kid I discovered giant black ants, salamanders, deer, raccoons, chipmunks, woodchucks, snakes, frogs, crayfish and the list could go on.
In all my kid naturalist adventures I never ever saw a snail! There were plenty of "slugs" but they are snails without a shell. I just thought a snail was like a 4 leaf clover...they exist but rare and impossible to find.
Then my family moved to Los Angeles. One evening in my parent's backyard... I saw a snail, with a huge shell crawling across the brick patio.
It was like I saw bigfoot or the loch ness monster! I ran looking for a camera but could not find, I yelled for family members to come witness but they were out for the evening! I was alone with this mythical beast!
I did not know in California, they were everywhere, ordinary...the norm.
Today, much of their mystery has been replaced with the everyday fear I might step on one and hear that horrible crunch under my feet coming home in the evening.
I saw my friend Jason (a recent North Carolina transplant) months back react the same way seeing one crawling across a sidewalk. So I know I'm not alone in once seeing the snail as a legend.
They are unique, funny and weird creatures that I still often stop to watch like a kid adventurer. Here are a few cartoons I did inspired by them.
click to enlarge picture