A "day in the life" of a cannibal snail or wolfsnail, Euglandia rosea, is the topic of this children's book. Authors and photographers Sarah and Richard Campbell bring this day to life with clear text and crisp photos.
What is this Euglandia searching for? "The wolfsnail eats meat" (p. 9), and by meat, the authors mean other snails and slugs, hence the "cannibal snail" moniker.
The search is on for prey, and "The wolfsnail leaves behind an empty shell" (p. 24). It's then off to a safe hiding place to rest until another day.
Pages 30 and 31 contain facts and factoids about Euglandia, and page 32 is a glossary of "snail words" (vocabulary used throughout the text and the descriptions of its natural history).
The text and story is written for both pre-readers (children being read to) and readers probably to the 2-4 grade level. The factoid pages are more sophisticated.
The Campbells write "State agricultural officials in Hawaii imported wolfsnails in 1955 to try to control another invader, the giant African snail [imported illegally for starting a food snail industry], which was eating farmers' crops. But the wolfsnails ate native Hawaiian snails instead. Wolfsnails have wiped out many of the native snail species" (p. 31).
The native snail species on Oahu (genus Achatinella) are all listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) as endangered. The FWS states "The most serious threats to the survival of O`ahu tree snails are predation by the introduced carnivorous snail (Euglandina rosea), predation by rats, and loss of habitat due to the spread of nonnative vegetation into higher elevation forests." Half the species are now extinct.
One of my relatives introduced Euglandia rosea to Oahu from Florida, and received accolades from all for combatting the giant African snail. Sadly, Achatinella snails were not on the radar screen as a concern at the time. We should be wary of all current relocations and introductions for all species, since what seems to make sense today may be a model of folly tomorrow.