Sunday, March 13, 2011
My New Friend
The Garden Snail population in Northern California is quite robust. You can find the little guys all over the place after the sun sets. Dining on the shrubbery, bathing in the water from sprinklers, scaling the sides of buildings, even crawling right down the sidewalk. It's delightful.
I found this little one while Aaron was at class last week. I used to keep land snails as pets as a child, and enjoyed it very much. We had a nice jar all cleaned out and just waiting to be put to some sort of use, so I decided to put the snail in there with a collection of fresh leaf clippings until Aaron got home. Then I'd introduce them to each other and decide whether or not the snail would become a permanent resident.
He didn't seem opposed to the idea, as we watched our new friend crawl around in its new home, nibbling on fresh cut grass. For the sake of ease, we'll refer to the snail as a she, since Garden Snails are capable of altering their gender to reproduce a-sexually. Since then she's been living on my desk beside the window, where she gets morning light, but not enough to bake her.
She primarily eats the greenery I collect from outside, so she won't grow bored of just one thing (apparently snails get bored easily), but I treat her to a bit of whatever fruit I've eaten recently too. I think I'll also begin planting the seeds from our apples and pears and feeding her the seedlings every once in a while. This morning I gave her a bean sprout from the Vietnamese restaurant we ate at last night. She seemed to really like that, nomming down almost half of it in one go.
I knew a lot about snails from my time keeping them as a child, however I decided a little research would be keen since my methods back then consisted of, "provide it the most natural habitat possible!" No matter the cost. Which translated to a terrarium full of mud and sticks. Great for the snail, but an eyesore for my poor mother, I'm sure.
I discovered that loam is a cleaner solution to substrate than dirt, and the snails like it just fine. Also that you can put an earthworm into the terrarium to help it keep clean between actual cleanings as worms will more than happily consume the waist left behind by snails. So I hopped onto the good ol' internet and ordered a small terrarium, since she can't live in a jar forever, and a few blocks of loam. A grand total of $10.00 spent.
Now she just needs a name...