How to Find and Catch a Garden Snail
Garden snail is a species of land snail, and its binomial name is Helix aspersa. It belongs to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Mollusca and Class Gastropoda. This species comes under the Genus Helix and Family Helicidae
The garden snail is edible, and is considered as a pest in the garden and in general to agriculture. These are a native of the Mediterranean area and Western Europe, but are found in many areas all over the world which is believed to have been spread accidentally or deliberately by humans.
An adult garden snail has a hard but thin calcareous shell which is 25 – 40 mm in diameter and 25 – 35 mm high. It can contain four to five whorls. Garden snails can have different shades. The most common ones found in the garden are dark brown or chestnut colour with yellow colour stripes. The body of the snail is soft and slimy. When touched or hibernating, the snail retracts its body into the shell. When active, the head and foot of the snail emerge out of the shell. It has two pairs of tentacles, one pair long with eyes (for seeing), and other pair small (for smelling) and the mouth is located beneath the tentacles. The snails secrete slimy fluid called mucus while moving, so that friction is reduced between the snail and the surface on which they move.
The garden snails are herbivorous and feed on plants, trees, vegetable crops and flowers in the garden. These snails are eaten by many other animals that live on land, for example other terrestrial snails, birds, lizards, frogs etc.
We will now look into finding and catching a garden snail.
Finding garden snails:
Garden snails are nocturnal, although they can be found during the day time after the rain. They can be found usually in parks and gardens at nights under rotten pieces of wood or wet boards that lie on the floor. You can find them on hedgerows, marshes, woodlands, pond margins and garden furniture. You can also see them under piles of leaves and sticks that lie in the same place all through the winter. Also in the garden, turn over pots and stones on a wet surface to find garden snails. You can see them in cracks and crevices and other fixtures in the garden. If it rains during the day, you can see them moving on plants or anything that is above the wet soil. During winter, it is difficult to find them, as they hibernate due to extreme temperatures and this state is called estivation.
An easier way to look for a snail is when you see a snail trail. A snail trail is a shiny slimy line across surfaces where the snail has moved. You can look for these snail trails under leaves and not too exposed areas. Once you find a trail, try to follow it. If the trail has ended and you have not found the snail, it might be because it has climbed over something and gone away, so try another trail. When you have found your snail, your next step is catching the snail.
Catching a garden snail:
Catch the snail by its shell, so that you do not touch the slimy mucus. Garden snails usually leave the substrate and most probably will retract itself into its shell. You can take the snail to a wet area, as they love to be in places where there is moisture, and enjoy watching them crawl and their other features. If you decide to keep a snail as a pet, you need to find out how to care for that specific species of snail and then start growing them.
Let us look at some interesting facts about snails:
- Snails are very slow moving creatures and they are not brainless as many people think.
- Many species of snails hibernate during colder months to escape the extremely cold temperatures, and also sometimes in summer to escape drought. During this time, they live on the fat stored in their body.
- Garden snails can move at the speed of 55 yards per hour making them the fastest species.
- Salt and sugar can kill snails.
- Snails are hermaphrodites.
- The eye-sight of snails is very faint and they cannot hear.
- Snails do not like bright light.
- The largest snail found weighed two pounds and was fifteen inches long.
- Snails can live up to a maximum of fifteen years depending upon the species.
- Snails travel in circles rather than following a straight line.
- Garden snails are believed to have evolved from sea snails six hundred million years ago.