My son is obsessed with snails! I mean, loves them and as a result, I thought to myself, what can I do about this obsession? Well, build a home for them of course with my son. But where the hell do you start?
Firstly, yes, I can think of better pets to have, a nice fluffy puppy or kitten are 2 of the top choices I considered but I just do not have the time to look after one with a full-time job, and do not even start with the money side of things with bills going up and up. And when I asked my son if he wanted to build a new home for some snails, his little face lit up so brightly that I had to think of a solution to keep these mini-beasts then I realised I had no idea what I was doing and how to even look after snails!
Well, it turns out it is surprisingly easy to keep snails as a pet and they are actually, really interesting.
Setting up the snails new home and looking after them
- My first step was to find something to which to home our soon-to-come new family members. Looking around the house, on the internet, even at work. Then we found a solution, a plastic storage box that we found in a local shop. I have linked the type for you. It was then just needing a few air holes and we were good to go. We had something that would not leak, and keep these slimy guests from escaping all over the house!
- I then had to get a good layer of soil, I put about 15-20cm of the stuff in but first, had to cook it for 20 minutes on a baking tray to make show I introduced no nastiness to the snails. This turns out, to be an important step to avoid illness, and growth of god knows what in the new home.
- Next, the hunt. We went to the woods and made a day of it. We found some ducks to feed, discovered ants that seemed to be out of some horror show (turns out they were wood ants), played hide and seek and had a picnic before we started hunting for snails! is hunting the word? We found loads in the woods and collected some moss covered bark also. The way home, he held them tight as to look after them in the small tub I brought to transport them in. His smile beaming looking into the lid.
- Next, we made a home for our new guests. I had the soil but then we placed in the moss covered bark and make some hiding spaces for the snails… turns out they like cool dark spaces which is why you find them behind the pots in the gardens hidden away.
- The home was completed! Now time to introduce the snails to the new home and one by one, my son placed them carefully into the tub. We then sprayed them a few times with some water to make sure the shells were wet before we put the lid on, tightly, and went on the hunt for some food!
- Dinner time for snails was actually really easy. They eat almost any vegetation. All we need to make sure is it is not acidic like grapes or peppers. They will eat salads, fruits or veg. My son gave them some cucumber to begin with. Ongoing, they are little recyclers, turning old food waste into nutritious soil… though the downside is they shit everywhere, all up the sides of the tub, on the lid and it is utterly gross! So yes, we now have to clean out the snails about once a week with a cloth on the tub. We also need to spray the snails everyday which is not any big hardship.
So if your child is taken an interest in mini-beasts, there you go, you have a day out and an ongoing activity! Next stage for us, making a small wormery within the snail’s tub. I just hope the bloody things don’t escape!