A short stroll from the Cambridge’s busy city centre lies the leafy oasis of the university’s Botanic Gardens. They were established in their current location in 1846 by Charles’ Darwin’s mentor, John Henslow who was passionate about promoting the serious study of plants within the university. But it’s not only botanists who benefit from the gardens. I recently paid a visit with a group of expert malacologists – scientists who study molluscs (the group of animals that includes everything from squid and cuttlefish in the sea to slugs and snails on land).
Richard Preece, from Cambridge University’s Zoology Museum, showed me around and introduced me to some of the fascinating – and very small – mollusc species that lurk in the undergrowth including some unwanted, but altogether harmelss visitors from the tropics.
Listen in to my urban snail hunt on BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science.