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Snails as Pets
Snails are really pretty exquisite despite their sliminess. The way they move, the design of their shell and how they can stretch and move their bodies is pretty impressive. I inadvertently found out about these invertebrates while cleaning out our fish tank.. Or should I say our tank of death. When we moved all of our fish died one by one.. slowly! But While this was happening we watched at least a hundred or so snails come out from the gravel. Who knew there were so many in there! From my research I discovered snails are often stow always on plant in a n aquarium. And who knew how small they could be? Some snails are smaller that the tip of a pencil! Snails are really neat to watch,very graceful despite their big shell and slow motion. Snails can also live up to 15 years! Who would have thought that? It was then I began to think of snails as pets.
The snails shell is the most beautiful part of the snail. It can be round, spiraled high and pointed or even flat. The shell is composed of Calcium. You can tell if a snail matures if it develops a lip on the outside of it's opening.
Parts of the Snail
Snails come all different varieties. There are garden Snails and Sea Snails. They belong to the Mollusk family. The garden snail's Latin name is gastropod. Literally it means stomach and foot or a belly footed animal. It moves with the help of muscles that ripple along it's foot. The front on the snail creates a mucus that hardens when it comes in contact with the air. This helps the snail slither along. The mucus creates a barrier that protects the snails body from harm. it can even slither across a sharp point or a razor without being harmed. The mucus also protects the body of the snail and helps ease back into his shell.
What do Snails Eat?
Snails can eat plants, decaying plants and fruits. They need calcium to grow and there fore have been seen eating bricks, paint and even dirt. Some experts state to set out a bowl of calcium for snails to eat at will. Sometimes the snail will eat the plant then the dirt, while some will eat one or the other. Adding the correct chemicals to your snail farm can be a tricky business. Peat moss is suggested as well as Calcium. To eat they use what is called a radula. It is like a tongue with tiny scales that with skins the layers off of the vegetable or fruit. Snails are considered a pest to the gardener!
Aquarium snails such as the apple snail will eat any live plants i n your tank! Also the pond snail as well ans the Ramshornnail will eat algae and any dead carcasses. They are a good for keeping the tank clean!
Habitat for snails
Snails like humid places. They need to keep moist and cool therefore they avoid direct sunlight. If you keep garden snails inside be sure to have some moist leaves in the container. Aquarium snails need relatively no maintenance. Make sure you read up on the type of snail you get! For example, apple snails are plant eaters and will eat any live plants in your aquarium. Also apple snails breed like crazy.
Yes there is such a thing. If you are in the market to sell a few Escargo you can set up your very own snail farm. The link below will tell you how you can go about doing that. It has been suggested that you can gather snails from your local avocado or artichoke farmers who might charge you a fee to pick them off their crops for you. Of course different snails have different preferences. What do snails eat? They have been known to eat apples, leaves off of apple trees, dandelions, hibiscus, elder larkspur and pumpkins to name a few. I don't think there is much a snail won't eat!
Types of snails as pets
There are several varieties of snails. My favorite might be the apple snail, an aquarium snail named for it's shape. They come in colors of yellow blue or brown. The apple snail might be the most popular snails as pets. These snails can get up to 6 inches long if cared for properly. The trumpet snail is the second most popular snail with a shell like a trumpet. Ramsnail is also a popular snail with a shell shaped like horns.
Snails are a fascinating and relatively easy pet to maintain. They make a wonderful addition to any aquarium, as they eat algae too. Maybe you should consider having Snails as a Pets.
- Raising Snails, SRB 96-05
Raising Snails. By Rebecca Thompson and Sheldon Cheney. Compiled for the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, NAL/ARS/USDA, www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/.