The week before we went on holiday we had been trying to convince Louis that he would really like to go outside but every time we opened the door he looked out, sniffed and then went back in again. On the rare occasions when we did manage to get him to cross the threshold he would only go a few feet and then scarper back to the house!
The on the Friday night while we were packing he decided to go a bit further and without realising he was outside the door got shut and we went to bed thinking he was hiding in the house. It was only the next morning that we noticed he was missing and despite lots of shouting he didn’t reappear. Lissi set off round the streets and alleyways armed with some chicken and calling him and while she was getting ready Bex went out to look for him, but he was no where to be seen.
So we had to set off on holiday and text Alex who was feeding the animals to let him know that Louis was missing. Unfortunately Alex had never seen Louis so keeping an eye our for him was going to be difficult. We had a few reports while we were away but they were all to say he hadn’t reappeared. Alex had been putting food outside for him and it had been disappearing but he had no way of telling if it was Louis or one of the other cats who were eating it.
So as we made our way back we were convinced that he wasn’t coming back. I half expected his former owner to call us up and say he had turned up back there! So it was a nice surprise to find when we opened the kitchen door that he was sitting there, large and life and twice as hungry!
Meanwhile Brian the snail was back to stay for the Easter break and Lissi was insistent that he couldn’t be left at home so we had to take him on holiday with us! So she put his cage in a carrier bag and sat with him on her knee all the way to Portsmouth. She then insisted that he couldn’t stay in the car on the ferry so took him up onto the decks with her.
Once we arrived in Shanklin he had a nice spot on the shelf above the fire in the caravan where he stayed for most of the week munching on cucumber! Except he didn’t – he ate the first few bits but then didn’t touch any more all week – we were getting worried about him….
Then when we returned on Friday evening after being at Flamingo Park all day we noticed 8 little round white balls in the corner of his cage where he was sitting. Surely they couldn’t be eggs…..could they? We googled Giant African Land Snail eggs and sure enough they looked just like the ones that were in his cage. Now we knew that snails are hermaphrodites but we also knew that Brian hadn’t seen another snails since he arrived at the school about 6 months ago. So we googled that too and found that they can still lay eggs even if they have already laid some since they were last in contact with another snail!
The next morning there were hundreds of them. I think Lissi counted 178 in all. We have no idea if they will hatch and it hasn’t helped that the “Snail Lady” who knows these things had been stuck abroad – a victim of the Volcanic Ash flight ban. So we could be hearing the slither of little Brian’s and Briony’s very soon!