Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Giant African Land Snail Exercise Wheel

Also green.
  [vote for,

Hamsters are popular pets, and are often provided with exercise wheels.

Giant African Land Snails are also popular pets, and are not.


MaxCompanian (Snail division) Inc. is proud to introduce the GALSerciser.

The GALSerciser looks at first sight like a regular exercise wheel, only somewhat larger (about 12ft diameter). It is mounted on a low-friction bearing, and adjustable counterweights allow its balance to be fine-tuned.

The Giant African Land Snail enters the wheel at the bottom, of course. Arrows printed on the inner surface tell it which way to start moving. As it moves, of course, it causes the wheel to turn slowly, in much the same way as hamster wheel.

"What" we hear you ask "is in it for the snail?" Glad you asked that. The inner surface of the wheel is lined with an absorbent cotton wool-like material (cotton wool), which is gently misted with water. At the apex of the wheel, directed at this inner surface, is a lettuce- seed gun of the usual variety.

As the wheel turns, it tightens the spring on the lettuce-see gun until - Ping! - a single lettuce seed is fired into the absorbent cotton wool- like lining of the wheel. As the wheel continues to turn in an inexorable way, this seed (which, of course, has others following on behind it) germinates and begins to grow, fertilised by the deposits of Giant African Land Snail dung previously left on the inner surface of the wheel.

By the time the wheel has turned a half-circle, the lettuce seedling is large enough to make a tasty morsel for the Giant African Land Snail which, in walking* towards the seedling, turns the wheel a little more, perpetuating the process.

You will note that the system ensures optimal fitness and dietery restraint for the snail: if it is over-greedy and hastens too rapidly towards the next seedling, the seedling will have had less time to grow, and hence will provide a smaller meal. If the snail chooses to watch its weight, however, and eat less frequently, then each seedling will have grown larger by the time it reaches the snail, encouraging a more substantial intake of lettucy goodness.

We are, of course, investigating the potential of such a system to generate electricity by means of a small generator coupled to the wheel.

*Footnote available on request.

MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 06 2010

Achatina achatina http://www.petsnail...achatina.html#start
Prefers dead plants to live ones. [DrBob, Mar 08 2010]


       Can I have a footnote, please, Carol?
pocmloc, Mar 06 2010

       <Scrutinises sole of [MB]'s boot>   

       It says here, "ADMIT ONE".
8th of 7, Mar 06 2010

       sp. Exercise   

       Excess sibilants musst be excised.
pertinax, Mar 07 2010

       Good lord - you are right. This probably means that I have spent my intire life mis-spelling that word. Damn. Thanks.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 07 2010

       These should exist in the civil service...   

       ..oh, wait...
Nelipot, Mar 08 2010

       As an expert on the Giant African Snail*, I can tell you that the flaw in your scheme is that these creatures prefer rotting vegetable matter rather than your apparently succulent** lettuce shoots, so they are likely to be rather less incentivized*** than you think.

* Five minutes of scouting round the internet seems to count as expertise these days so I think the claim is valid.

** Haven't used that word for a while. It's like welcoming back an old friend.

*** Feel free to insert an actual, real word or words of your choice in place of this annoying non-word.
DrBob, Mar 08 2010

       I would have called this: "Escargogo"
xenzag, Mar 08 2010

       I find that our GALs food preferences are courgettes, mouldy newspaper and lettuce, in that order.
prufrax, Mar 09 2010

       yes, they tend to dig their way down to the bottom of the vivarium and eat the lining paper. especially if you try and feed them with iceberg lettuce.
prufrax, Mar 10 2010

       I don't usually do this, but sp: companion.
phoenix, Mar 10 2010

       If the wheel was bigger, then the lettuce would have time to germinate, grow, wither, die and rot before the snail got to it. This seems the obvious solution to me.
hippo, Mar 10 2010

       I think we need to see the math for that please hippo. Exactly how much bigger would the wheel need to be?
DrBob, Mar 10 2010

       "we need to see the math"!? - are you suddenly American, [DrBob]?
hippo, Mar 10 2010

       //sp: companion// That domain name was taken.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 10 2010

       Damn straight, hippo! Yeehaw!
DrBob, Mar 10 2010

       // if it is over-greedy and hastens too rapidly towards the next seedling, the seedling will have had less time to grow//   

       Hence the term: "tip of the iceburg lettuce"
Ling, Mar 10 2010

       Lettuce all stop and ponder that for a moment.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 10 2010

       // if it is over-greedy and hastens too rapidly towards the next seedling, the seedling will have had less time to grow//   

       In a hundred million years or so, you might breed a snail capable of self control, or at least of worrying about the future. Perhaps it could also be taught to worship you as a god.
mouseposture, Mar 10 2010

       I'd say a 10ft. dia. wheel might do the trick +
daseva, Mar 10 2010


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