Our summer days and nights have normalized in comparison to last year, interspersed with thunderstorms that moisten the air and briefly lower air temperatures. June 2016 held about 2.5 inches of rain while June 2017 showered 5.75 inches. With 3 inches of rain so far this month, July 2017 is also on pace to exceed the average amount.
Snails and slugs, members of the class Gastropoda, thrive in the damp, dark conditions presented by storms. They mostly feed on plants and molds at night to avoid drying effects of the sun, but a rainy or humid dawn and dusk will certainly bring them out. The boardwalk at Macricostas Preserve offers ideal habitat – cool, dark, consistently damp conditions below and when suitable, a feeding platform above. Furthermore, the unique calcareous nature of Meeker Swamp provides ample calcium for snails to form a shell, protecting their soft bodies. Next time crossing the boardwalk after a shower, make sure to look where you are stepping to give these fascinating mollusks the right of way.