Gardeners urged to go snail hurling

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IT would seem a strong-throwing arm is the key to solving the perennial problem of snails munching their way through a gardener’s prized plants.

A new study claims removing snails at least 20 metres (65ft) – around the length of a cricket pitch – out of the garden is as beneficial as killing the molluscs.

Gardeners employ a range of methods besides chemical pellets to tackle snails, including beer traps, egg shells and standing on them.

And a fifth admit to lobbing snails over the fence, although the research shows a “homing instinct” which means the pests frequently make their way back from next door.

However, they almost always failed to return from distances of 20 metres or more, the study published in the journal Physica Scripta said. It suggests gardeners could better control snails with “a stronger throwing arm or mechanically-assisted lobbing”.

But the researchers said it might be better for the local gardening community to take the snails to a nearby wasteland, rather than shifting the problem onto the neighbours.

The study found there was little advantage for gardeners in killing snails as they were part of a much larger, wider population coming in and out of the garden.