Naturalist Field Day
Paul Hendricks, zoological museum curator and researcher at the University of Montana leads this unique field day on land snails and slugs. Poke through remnant forests to discover and identify specimens you can’t find in your backyard.
“Almost all of the species that most people encounter in town during their day-to-day living, and in their gardens, are non-native. But we have a rich native fauna that is almost unknown by the public.”
- Learn how to identify native land snails and slugs.
- Delve into the small-scale world as you learn about the habitat and microhabitat requirements of these species.
- Become familiar with topics in land mollusk conservation.
- Understand the processes creating our local remnant forests.
What to Bring:
- Lunch & water
- hiking shoes, boots or rain boots, clothes appropriate for potentially cool/wet spring weather such as rain pants and rain jacket
- hand lens (we have some to borrow)
- gardening tool with teeth- not a trowel (optional)
- small containers for shells you may want to keep (we will have plastic baggies)
- pad to kneel on (optional)
- headlamp for looking in dark spaces
Date: Saturday, April 25th
Time: 9:00-5:00 (depending on location, this class may go until 6:00)
Location: meet at the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.
Cost: $80/$70 MNHC members
Registration is required. Please call 327-0405.
5 OPI credits
1) “Land snails of British Columbia” 2004 (paper) by Robert G. Forsyth (listed at $25.95): covers many of the species found in Montana west of the Continental Divide, with some nice introductory sections on land snail biology. My suggestion for a snail guide that is also quite portable for the field pack.
2) “Land snails and slugs of the Pacific Northwest” 2013 (paper) by Thomas E. Burke (listed at $35.00): covers most to all of the species in western Montana. Not as user-friendly as the BC book (larger, heavier, perhaps a bit more technical), but is more comprehensive and has excellent color photographs (which are mostly absent in the BC guide)! A must for the library for the snail naturalists in this region.
3) “A guide to the land snails and slugs of Montana” 2012 (paper) by Paul Hendricks (free: can be downloaded from Montana Natural Heritage Program website). Not a field guide (yet), but covers the Montana species more completely (albeit briefly) than any other reference. [We will have a few hard-copies available for use during class.]
4) “Identifying land snails and slugs in Canada” 2009 (paper) by F. Wayne Grimm, Robert G. Forsyth, Frederick Schueler, and Aleta Karstad (was and may still be free from Canadian Food Inspection Agency): not as useful as #1 and #2, but still a nice addition to the library with very good descriptions of the non-native species, and includes wonderful watercolor paintings of the slugs.
5) “The secret world of slugs and snails” 2010 (paper) by David G. Gordon (listed at $14.95); full of interesting facts about snails and slugs written in an easy-to-digest style. Also some focus on Pacific Northwest species (book is published by Sasquatch Books in Seattle).
6) “The sound of a wild snail eating” 2010 (hard back) by Elisabeth Tova Bailey (listed at $18.95): a wonderful account of living with a snail while dealing with an illness leaving the author largely bed-ridden; presents much about life in the slower lane, both human and molluscan. Great prose by a professional writer, and presenting quite a few facts in the process.