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Last Updated: Wednesday September 15 2010 15:03 GMT

Grandma proves snails have a homing instinct

A garden snail

A grandmother in Devon has made a startling discovery about snails - it looks like they've got a built-in sat-nav to find their way home!

Ruth Brooks has been named Britain's best amateur scientist after coming up with an experiment to prove her theory.

She used nail varnish to mark a few garden snails, so she could recognise them, then moved them from her garden.

Scientists thought the snails were too simple to find their way home, but the painted molluscs had soon returned.

Mrs Brooks found the snails would keep coming back if they were moved to within 30m of their starting point.

So if any of you have been growing your own veg and want to stop snails chomping on the leaves, she suggested moving the snails far further away.

"I would say that on the evidence that it would be safe to take your snails away beyond 100m or further and put them somewhere nice with some food and you can be almost certain that they won't come back.

"I shall certainly be following that advice."