Bonus points to anyone who recognized the Teeny Tiny quote from The Neverending Story, but that was a bit of a canard. In fact, we’re talking about actually racing snails. This sounds like one of those things that occurs to most creative parents at some point. “Gee, wouldn’t it be cool if we raced (insert small innocent creature here)?” But it rarely gets carried out beyond maybe picking up a couple of bugs, dropping them side by side, and letting them run for some arbitrary finish point.
Not so over at Thingamababy! AJ staged a genuine Garden Snail Race., complete with a proper “track,” racing decals and all.
Of course, there was a little prep work involved to carry the thing off with the proper sense of occasion.
1. Prepare a race track. We raced indoors, and started with a sheet of poster board (two for $1 at a dollar store). I used a large metal mixing bowl and a drinking glass to trace a large and small circle.
Our inner 3.5″ diameter circle was a perfect fit for six snails. The outer circle’s diameter was 15.5″, providing a 6 inch racing distance between the circles. Go even larger if you can because snails are faster than you think.
Outdoor racing is possible, but likely to occur after sunset because snails are nocturnal. Draw your circles on the ground using chalk. Apparently chalk is a good source of calcium and is provided in powdered form to snails kept in classrooms.
We’ve used the same poster board sheet six times so far. The inner circle has a bit of snail debris, and there are dried slime trails, but all-in-all it’s holding up well.
But the results were undoubtedly worth all the work, right down to the photo (kind of) finish.
What a great way to teach ecology and biology and have a blast at the same time!