Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/41

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
29
MOLLUSCA.

Vallancy and Dr. Span were afterwards present, and saw one of the snails crawl out, the others being dead, most probably from their having remained some days in the water. Dr. Quin and Dr. Rutty also examined the living snail several different times, and were greatly pleased to see him come out of his solitary habitation after so many years' confinement. Dr. Macbride and a party of gentlemen at his house, were also witnesses of this surprising phenomenon. Dr. Macbride has thus mentioned the circumstance: — 'After the shell had lain ten minutes in a glass of water that had the cold barely taken off, the snail began to appear, and in five minutes more we perceived half the body pushed out from the cavity of the shell. We then removed it into a basin, that the snail might have more scope than it had in the glass; and here, in a very short time, we saw it get above the surface of the water, and crawl up towards the edge of the basin. While it was thus moving about, with its horns erect, a fly chanced to be hovering near, and, perceiving the snail, darted down upon it. The little animal instantly withdrew itself into the shell, but as quickly came forth again, when it found the enemy had gone off. We allowed it to wander about the basin for upwards of an hour, when we returned it into a wide-mouthed phial, where Mr. Simon had lately been used to keep it. He presented me with this remarkable shell, and I observed, at twelve o'clock, as I was going to bed, that the snail was still in motion; but next morning I found it in a torpid state, sticking to the side of the glass."[1]

  1. Phil. Trans, (abridged) xiii. 566.