How much do you know about the sex life of snails? More specifically, I suppose, what do you know about snail reproduction?
The reason I mention this is that we have a fish tank – bought for Dani’s birthday a few yeas ago. Recently it has become infested with tiny snails and I was sure they were breeding like crazy. So, eventually I decided to look it up (i.e. google it). And this is what I found…
Right you can forget rabbits. These little shell covered bastards are even more prolific breeders. It turns out that they don’t even need to meet a snail of the opposite sex!
Many species of freshwater snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. Hermaphroditic snails can actually fertilize themselves, so all it takes to establish a breeding colony in your tank is a single snail. Well, I can confirm that we are well past that ‘single snail’ stage.
They usually have to climb above the water line to lay their eggs. That’s (mostly) when I see them and try to scoop them out. It turns out that snails don’t go through different forms as they age. They hatch out of their eggs as tiny, perfectly formed versions of their parents. That’s why I often see lots of tiny snails hanging around on the tank walls – which I also scoop out.
The first snails must have got into the tank on a plant I bought (for the tank) some months back. Anyway short of cleaning out the whole tank and getting new gravel for the bottom it is going to be hard work getting rid of the slimy little f*ckers. But not to be put off I have once again sought the help of the internet and come up with a plan to sucker the little suckers into a trap.
Apparently if you put a piece of lettuce in the tank overnight, they all come out to feast on it. By early morning it should be covered in snails, large and small. Then all you have to do is scoop out the lettuce leaf and voilá! Or so they say… We shall see.
Reptilicus – A Really Bad Movie
The other day I found out about something called ‘The Bad Movie Club’. They show old films at the local library, deliberately picked out for being really awful.
Of course there are plenty of candidates – the majority of which most of us will have never heard of. This was one of them. It is called Reptilicus, a Danish monster movie made in 1961. It was terrible, but funny. I thought Dani would like it and sure enough he did. He saw the funny side of it but also thought it wasn’t that bad. I understand what he means. For the time it was made, I suppose…No. Hang on. It really is crap regardless of the year it was made and the lack of special effects.
Plot and Spoiler Alerts (as if!)
After copper miners discover part of the frozen tail of a prehistoric monster in Lapland, scientists take it to an aquarium in Copenhagen where it is kept frozen in a cold room. However the cold room door is inadvertently left open and the tail thaws and is brought back to life. Scientists then notice that it is regenerating. One scientist calls the creature Reptilicus. Foolishly they decide to keep it alive and enhance the regeneration by drip-feeding the tail section. Inevitably the monster grows far quicker than they could have imagined and soon fully develops and breaks free.
Reptilicus goes on an unstoppable rampage through the Danish countryside and into the sea. Then to the panic-stricken streets of Copenhagen. The monster is finally knocked unconscious by a sedative developed by the scientists. The drug is administered via a bazooka shot into the creature’s mouth – in one of the funniest parts of the movie.
The film was made twice. It was remade in English for the American audience and a few scenes were deleted from the original (Danish) version – like where Reptilicus flew. This was due to the fact that it looked so bad. Speaking of which, some effects – like the monster spitting a luminous green acidic slime – were added afterwards, and very amateurishly. I am sure the flying monster scenes would be no worse.
The acting was very poor. Wooden. Plus it was full of bad timing. But we stuck with it. And why not? There was a supply of free drinks and snacks. At least I think it was free. Dani helped himself to a can of coke and two bags of popcorn. So overall he enjoyed himself. As he correctly pointed out; it is only the most modern monster movies with up to date CGI graphics that don’t have silly looking monsters (like this one). At school his class is working on making a short stop-motion movie in art class, so he was actually very interested in this ‘bad movie’.
Surprisingly, you can even find the “official trailer” on that old favourite, YouTube. Here is the link for anyone interested:
If you are really keen you can buy the movie on Blu-Ray and DVD. But best keep your money eh? Spend it on some modern crap movie. There are more than enough of them.
Unsurprisingly, this was Denmark’s first, and up to now, only giant monster film. That said, and as always with these daft old movies, they are worth a look, if only for a good laugh.