Killing Snails


“When I hear that crunch I know I’ve done it again.  I get out the car, it’s dark and I can’t see them but there’s the cracking sound and I know I crushed another snail. I walk upstairs feeling sad and guilty.  I just ended its life.”

My son said this recently while we were talking about his evening job, the fact that the nights are starting to close in even though we haven’t reached the end of August and it’s dark when he gets home.  Until he said it I hadn’t realised he felt so strongly about the right to life and his thoughts on the subject aren’t limited to snails. My health issues and treatment have not been easy for him to reconcile; he’s been forced to confront the realisation that ‘good’ people don’t necessarily get a ‘fair’ deal in life.  I suppose we all come to know this at some stage, whether it’s through the death of  those we hold dear, being abandoned by those we loved and placed our trust in or through difficulties at school, college or work.

My son’s thoughts reflect my own. I hate killing snails too.  When I was a child I never did it deliberately and if I trod on them by accident my heart sank.  I still avoid treading on them because I don’t like killing things unnecessarily and the fact that they aren’t cute doesn’t exclude them from being spared my clumsiness.   The strange thing is that I don’t ever remember telling my son to avoid stepping on snails, or that he should feel sad or guilty if he accidentally crushed one.  I do remember telling him when he was very young that all life is precious, the natural world is important and other creatures deserve as much respect as we do.

I wonder how many people in today’s world might stop to consider their impact on the life of something as small as a snail?  I’m afraid I have encountered one or two who would either ignore it or consider it an inconvenience to have crushed one.  The sad thing is that I doubt their attitudes will change and that makes my heart sink as much for them as it does for the unlucky snail.

12 thoughts on “Killing Snails

  1. This is a ‘better late than never’ comment as WordPress is available again after weeks of not being able to load blog pages. I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed reading this post, and that I’m in total agreement. All life is precious and the sooner people realise it the better the world will be. With love always. Dad xxx


  2. I’m trying to cherish all life as well, Tracy. I love how you raised your son: ” I do remember telling him when he was very young that all life is precious, the natural world is important and other creatures deserve as much respect as we do.” I’m going to steal this chapter out of your parenting book for my sons. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo


  3. Such a beautiful and poignant post, so powerful. I too associate that awful sound with a sinking, feeling of regret and guilt. And so much in your post about mutual respect and dignity, really powerful. Thank you xxx


    • Thank you, I believe firmly in mutual respect and dignity and although it seems a little spartan when I watch the news these days it is part of me and will always remain that way.


    • Yes, I think we should remember it was their planet before we got here and it will probably be their planet after we’ve all gone too.


  4. I always feel guilty when accidentally killing a spider (and try to cup them as much as possible), unless it’s been biting me. When something attacks, my compassion disappears. This is particularly true for mosquitoes! It’s the same way I feel about cancer- if it attacks, then it has to go! No mercy in those cases. For some reason, I associate the two experiences. Weird, eh?


    • Definitely no mercy for cancer, no one can afford to give it any leeway even if the treatment proposed is tough and daunting. It is strange how we link cancer with certain things. I have always imagined it as something dark, sinister and not quite human sulking around in the shadows a bit like invasion of the body snatchers. We get big spiders in the house but they tend not to bite, Mosquitos are another story. You’d think they wouldn’t like my blood give all the drugs I’ve had but even that doesn’t stop them!


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