Snail is a gastropod mollusk that belongs to the family of Helicidae. It moves by means of a locomotive system called foot. It has an enclosing spiral shell.
The body is formed by foot and head. In the head there is a pair of major tentacles that take in charge of the touch sense, and a pair of minor tentacles that take in charge of smell.
Snails move slowly, around 3 inches per minute. It has an average life expectancy of 5 years.
There are species of snails like Helix Pomatia that suffer a process of operculization that protect them from low winter temperatures.
In summer, they present the phenomenon of stiving and in winter they suffer hibernation. They are both strategies of the snail to resists unfavorable atmospheric conditions.
To tell the difference between species we can consider color, the shape of peristome (region around the mouth), position, opening shape and the shape of the shell.
What snails are good for?
Snails have a great culinary value. When eating it, we can divide it in two parts:
- Frontal part: Formed by head and foot (but also the anus and rectum).
- Back part: Formed by the albumin gland and the hepatic pancreas.
The frontal part is more edible than the back, while this one ahs a higher nutritive value.
Snails are low fat, thus in calories too. It is rich in minerals as calcium, magnesium, iodine; and vitamin C.
It is also used in the cosmetic industry and as curative element for respiratory problems. It is believed that these two actions are sustained by the properties of the snail’s slime.
They are edible all the snails from the Helix genre.
There are more snails raise in captivity than wild snails.
The country that consume snails the most in Europe is France.
What do snails eat?
Snails eat all kinds of vegetables, but preferably aromatic herbs as thyme and rosemary.
We may also give them wheat flavor.
Snail keeping conditions
The best conditions are:
- Temperatures of 68°F
- Relative humidity at 100%
- Nutrition rich in carbon hydrates and calcium.
- Neutral open soils
- Densities of 120to 240snails/m2.
Snails depend on the moisture of the environment due tot he permeability of their skin. Hence, they perform their activities when it is raining, or whenever the weather is humid.
Building up a snail home
For preparing a home for your snail pet you may:
- Place a 5 inch layer of garden soil and water it regularly to keep it moist.
- Renew the food when it is withered.
Snails present a high level of growth during their first phases of life, which stops when it reaches adulthood, and decreases as long they get older.
It is hermaphrodite, but needs of another snail for reproduction.
The raising period goes from June until October.
What you need to raise snails
- Aquarium with a grilled tap.
- Garden soil.
- Rocks rich in carbonate calcium to provide them calcium.
We have to avoid the excess of humidity to prevent the proliferation of pathological bacteria as Pseudomonas aeruginosa that can cause the snail’s death.