Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane

Overview

Step into a world that, until now, you've only stepped on. The preeminent expert on the small wonders of the natural world, David George Gordon, playfully and thoughtfully sheds light on the fascinating lives of slugs and snails. Covering everything from snail sex to the manufacture of synthetic slug slime, Gordon takes us on a journey through the languid and magical world of these charismatic invertebrates. From essays like "Grow Your Own Escargot" to indispensable gardening tips, this book is chock-full of ...

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The Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane

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Overview

Step into a world that, until now, you've only stepped on. The preeminent expert on the small wonders of the natural world, David George Gordon, playfully and thoughtfully sheds light on the fascinating lives of slugs and snails. Covering everything from snail sex to the manufacture of synthetic slug slime, Gordon takes us on a journey through the languid and magical world of these charismatic invertebrates. From essays like "Grow Your Own Escargot" to indispensable gardening tips, this book is chock-full of information on the much-maligned mollusks. Whether removing non-native slugs from your garden or following a native snail as it meanders across the forest floor, you'll never look at these underdogs the same way again.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Unlikely as gastropods may seem as a topic for a book-length study, naturalist Gordon ably enlivens them, combining facts with quotations, a colloquial style, and curious historical references, from Pliny the Elder and Roman snail farmers to 18th-century pharmacists. Fildes’s line drawings recall woodcuts and add a touch of whimsy, aiding the impression that soft-bodied creatures should be regarded as more than agricultural nuisances or "cogs in nature’s Grande Machine." In four chapters—divided with clever, occasionally tongue-in-cheek subheadings as well as informational boxes—Gordon offers a solid overview of these gastropods, beginning with their place in the animal kingdom; continuing with discussions that reveal medicinal and culinary uses; listing some of the common varieties; exploring their physiology (including the properties of their slime); and finally, providing environmental suggestions for balancing their populations in the average yard. A highly approachable read for the neophyte science aficionado and the gardening enthusiast and an entertaining take on the timeless adage, "the meek shall inherit the earth." (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"Unlikely as gastropods may seem as a topic for a book-length study, naturalist Gordon ably enlivens them, combining facts with quotations, a colloquial style, and curious historical references, from Pliny the Elder and Roman snail farmers to 18th-century pharmacists. Fildes’s line drawings recall woodcuts and add a touch of whimsy, aiding the impression that soft-bodied creatures should be regarded as more than agricultural nuisances or 'cogs in nature’s Grande Machine.' In four chapters--divided with clever, occasionally tongue-in-cheek subheadings as well as informational boxes--Gordon offers a solid overview of these gastropods, beginning with their place in the animal kingdom; continuing with discussions that reveal medicinal and culinary uses; listing some of the common varieties; exploring their physiology (including the properties of their slime); and finally, providing environmental suggestions for balancing their populations in the average yard. A highly approachable read for the neophyte science aficionado and the gardening enthusiast and an entertaining take on the timeless adage, 'the meek shall inherit the earth.'"
Publishers Weekly

"From the get-go, 'The Secret World of Slugs and Snails' is a charmer, and one you won't have to slog through. You'll devour chapters that lay out the wonders of the prehistoric mollusks, from stories of how they got to these shores in the first place (blame a French explorer) to how they've managed to survive a rather trying string of ice ages, earthquakes, volcanoes and lesser climatologic troubles... David George Gordon, a naturalist and author of 19 books, including the best-selling 'Eat-a-Bug Cookbook,' knows how to spin a yarn. Best of all, his fascination with the underappreciated slowpokes is downright contagious. Don't be surprised if you hoist a Slug Lookout Booth in your own backyard."
Chicago Tribune

"Combining clever wit with solid science, David George Gordon has produced a most engaging, enlightening, and entertaining treatise on the evolution, anatomy and physiology, and ecological place of snails and slugs."
Pacific Horticulture

"A lovely little illustrated paperback treatise on slugs and snails, the creatures that gardeners in the Pacific Northwest love to hate."
The Seattle Times

"Seattle science writer David G. Gordon has made a career of celebrating squishy and crunchy critters most folks only notice when they eat, squash, or try to exterminate them—from oysters and geoducks to spiders, cockroaches, and edible insects. This is a man who’s been invited to Singapore to give a grub-grilling demonstration. Gordon’s latest follows the slimy trail blazed by his popular Field Guide to the Slug. It’s partly a reprise, revisiting the shell-less stars of that trim volume. But Gordon extends his malacological horizons (you try saying that) to shelled snails, both natives and the more familiar European species that were imported for eating and stayed to eat our gardens."
Seattle Metropolitan

If you don't know the first thing about slugs or snails—this should be your next read. Gordon makes it enjoyable to 'meet the mollusks.' The illustrations by Karen Luke Fildes are charming and the chapters peppered with amusing quotes from literary verse and song. There's even a recipe for growing your own escargot, which shouldn't be suprising given Gordon's fame for cooking with insects. The inevitable question of pest control is addressed, but the main focus is to shed light on how snails and slugs fit into ecosystems as recyclers of organic matter. The book is both fun and smart."
The Perennial Bookworm

"Most of us have been very disrespectful toward snails and slugs, thinking disgusted thoughts and turning into executioners of the low-riding mollusks.David Gordon wants to change your perception."
Everett Herald

"The Secret World of Slugs and Snails truly is encyclopedic. It is a great resource for those who do have an interest in the subjects and recognize them as the fascinating animals they are."
New York Journal of Books

"...a little gem of a book which may make you feel differently about the slimeballs once summer rolls around."
Toronto Star 
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570616112
  • Publisher: Sasquatch Books
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,445,175
  • Product dimensions: 8.72 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Ciscoe Morris ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Common and Scientific Names of Land Slugs and Snails in this Book xv

Introduction: Why Slow and Steady Wins the Race xvii

I Slug and Snail Basics 1

II A Gastropod Gallery 35

III Seven Wonders of Snaildom 77

IV Sharing Our Gardens: Coexisting with Slugs and Snails 121

For Additional Reading 149

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

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    I love snails soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooolooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooloooooooooo much sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo that means i loved this boooooook

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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