Snails!!!

If you have ever eaten snails, killed snails for fun, tortured snails for fun, complained about snails, sprayed for snails, screamed at snails, hated snails, if your the obnoxious gardener who kills snails, or if you grow snails for escargot, THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT THE PLACE FOR YOU.

As you may have noticed or not noticed I am a rather odd person. Well here's a big surprise, I LOVE SNAILS! I just love the little beautiful creatures.


If you want to keep snails this is the place for you. Below I have the instructions for this fine art. ( Alright, alright I'm a little eccentric. ) Anyway these instructions are by no means the written laws on keeping snails, there are probably big holes in them. If anyone has any other instructions for keeping snails please email me. Please, PLEASE e-mail me if you know about ANY snail related links, pictures, activities, etc. that I do not have on this page.


Please this reason, we are in a pickle in order to get them as pets. You can purchase snails however from biological supply companies, such as Mountain Home Biological, Berkshire Biological, Trans-Mississippi Biological Supply, and Connecticut Valley Biological (1-800-628-7748). Some other possible companies would be Blue Spruce Biological Supply, Carolina Biological Supply Company, and Niles Biological. go here. The "Live Cargo" exotic pet store in California sells helix apersa's or the speckled garden snail for $2.00 a snail. Here is their address: 8874 LaMesa Blvd. LaMesa, California 91941-5137, U.S.A Phone: (619)-466-0665 If you can't keep a real snail adopt your own Cyberslug If you collect snails ( such as figurines and the like ) here is a glass land snail and a sea snail.


If you have ever wanted to eat snails but are grossed out at the thought, try this link.


How about a different use for snails other than pets and escargot? Try this link for how to paint with snails! ( No, it doesn't harm the snails. )


Oh this has got to be one of the weirdest snail links on this page. For a full report on killer snails go there.


I'm not the only snail keeper out there, Check out Amy Edwards's Encounter With A Land Snail and Annette's Giant African Land Snails. Tony's page has a picture of his giant Gian African land snail. This page has Helen's giants on it. And here are Kaare Konradsen's giants. This is one of the best snail pages I have seen. Two words: Snaily World. Or you could try this page. For snail lovers try this page by Julia Simon or her other snail page. Andy Gibb likes snails also. For more information on snails you could search them up at the Smithsonian Mollusk Search Engine. This link is really cool. It has amzing data including information on a bioluminescent (glow-in-the-dark) snail. ( This link is mostly on marine shells but it is still worth visiting. ) This site has information on the mating habits of the speckled garden snail ( helix aspersa ). For pictures you could try this amazing link.


Did you know . . .

. . . that snails is the largest group of mollusks?

. . . that limpets, welks, and periwinkles are snails too?

. . . that slugs are snails that lost their shells?

. . . that the fastest type of snail is the speckled garden snail ( helix aspersa )? It's top speed is 0.0313 mph or 55 yds per hour compared to the 0.00036 mph or 23" per hour of other species.

. . . that the fastest garden snail, "Archie", was owned by Carl Bramham. It covered a 13" course in 2 minutes.

. . . that the largest land snail is the African Giant Snail ( Achantica sp. ). "Gee Geronimo", found by Christopher Hudson, measured 15 1/2" from snout to tale ( shell length 10 3/4" ) and weighed 2 lbs.

. . . that in 1846, 2 desert snails ( eremina desertorum ) were presented to the British Museum in London as " dead " exhibits, but 4 years later, in March 1850, one of them was found to be still alive. It lived for two more years until it fell into a topor and died.

. . . that there is a bioluminescent, glow-in-the-dark , snail ( )?



This image is courtesy of Happy Snails.


The How-To


Housing

Depending on the type of snail you get the cage can be either a large jar or a fish tank or bowl. ( Obviously the larger the snail the bigger the tank. ) You should not put to many snails in one tank. Overcrowding will kill them. The top of the tank should be covered with a screen or a piece of paper with holes punched in it. ( Don't punch holes in a lid because the sharp edges on the bottom will cut the snails when they walk across it. ) The bottom of the cage can have peat moss, leaf mold, or dirt on the bottom. (Make sure this hasn't been treated by chemicals.) This should be changed once a week. Dishes for the snails food and or water can be used, or the food can be just left out. The details can end here or, you can make it a beautiful terrarium. Plants, bark, and rocks can be used. for this. The tank should be in a place where it has a temparture of 18-29 degrees Celsius all year long. If it drops below this in the winter you should buy a reptile heating mat from your local pet store. This should be placed inside the tank so that the snails can move off of it if it gets to hot.

Feeding

Snails like to eat broad-leaved plants, juicy green food, vegetables, fruit, decomposing vegetation, soil, and calcium. Some examples of these are oatmeal, cornmeal, primroses, lichens, nasturtiums, lettuce, cabbage, dandelions, nettles, algae, and strawberries. These can be just laid in the cage or they can be put in a lid of a jar for a food dish. Water should be a part of the cage also. It can be in an upside down lid or it could be a spraying of water twice a day. This should be rainwater whenever possible. If rainwater is not available then bottled water should be used. A drop of beer can be given occasionally but DO NOT put it in an upside down lid. The beer should be just a drop on a leaf or wall of the cage. Calcium is EXTREMELY important to snails. They use it to strengthen their shells. Calcium can be give as crushed limestone, flour, a washed cuttlefish bone, crushed chalk, crushed egg shells, and dead snail shells crushed. This can be given in a dish also or just set out in a pile. BE SURE THAT ALL THE FOOD IS WASHED BEFORE BECOMING " DINNER ".

Handling

Despite their shells snails should be handled gently and with care. Slugs should be handled as little as possible and if you must, us a damp towel and make sure it doesn't dry out. Baby snails should be handled with a paintbrush only if they must be moved. Adult snails should not be held by the joint where their new shell grow on. To remove a snail from the side of its tank, first spray it, then slip your hands under uits head, and with both hands it under its body. Then gently pry him off. REMEMBER, YOUR HANDS SHOULD BE CLEAN AND WET BEFORE HANDLING SNAILS.

Breeding

All snails are hermaphrodites, which means they are both male and female. This makes them fairly easy to breed. They mate in the spring or early summer, on warm and damp nights. their "premating" consists of each snail thrusting a chalky love-dart into the sole of the other snail. This encourages mating. NOTE: Even though snails are hermaphrodites they still need another snail to mate, because they cannot self fertilize. To fertilize one another, a snail's deposite spermatophores or packets of sperm into the other snail's reproductive spore. The reproductive spore is a whitish organ that sticks out fronm the side of a lands snail's head during mating. After the deposition of the spermatophore, the snails are able to reproduce. The snail pair will usually stay together for a while after mating. The eggs are laid 2 to 3 months after mating. The soil is usually a quiet, loose, and moist in which the eggs are laid. They dig a nest with their foot. 30-90 eggs may be laid. The nest will then be covered after laying and left for better or worst. This may take as long as a day. The eggs are small, tough-skinned, and white or yellow. They hatch in a number of weeks. The hatchlings will eat the egg shells and they need a source of calcium and normal food too. (For more information on breeding snails try this link.

Estivation

Estivation is the inactivity during warm, dry, weather. During this time snails may attach them selves to walls or tree trunks. They prefer to do this on a smooth surface like glass. They may however also just sit on the soil's surface or burrow in a sheltered place. In any case they seal up their opening with mucus. This prevents moisture from evaporating. During this time the snail's body functions slow and it will not eat. To bring a snail out of estivation dip it in water or sprinkle water on the shell.

Hibernation

Snails hibernate through the winter. They gourge themselves in fall and spring. They byuild a chalky door and then , well, hibernate. In captivity you should put beech leaves in the cage for them to hibernate under. Beech leaves are used because they don't decompose as fast as other kinds do.


Here's my adorable snail Speedy!



I simply must thank Annette for this beautiful background.


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