The name conjures up images of a snail chasing man in a top hat, like the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But it’s a real thing. A pretty good real thing, too, says Nathan Hill.
When I was about seven I had a toy hoover that looked like a robot Emu that would ‘eat’ colourful plastic balls from the floor, and this thing is 99% the same but scaled down. There’s an extending arm that stretches to 30cm, with a pivot head on the end that rotates roughly 90°. It has a frontal collecting chamber that you can manually open, and a rubber harvesting rotor, so it rolls against glass nicely.
Operation is simple. Starting at the bottom of the glass, roll the rotor up the pane and over any snails. They’ll be scooped up in the rubber baffles and transported to the collecting cup at the front. Then just pull the thing out, flip open the collecting chamber, and out pops your mollusc bounty. No squished snails in the tank to pollute your water, and no need for harmful gastropod poisons.
As a negative, it only really works with snails that are on glass. If they’re in the substrate, this thing can’t touch them. So just turn your lights off for a few hours until they all come out, ping them back on, and you should have snails out all over the place. You’re welcome.
This thing cost me almost £11, so I’m trying to work out if it brings over a tenner’s worth of laziness to my life. If I struggled with snails, maybe. If you don’t like getting your hands in the tank and picking the things out manually like the rest of us, then you’ll love it.
Price: Seems to vary. I’ve found them as low as £7.99, but most stores are in the £10 to £12 region. I paid £10.99 for mine.
More info: dennerle.com