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Lettuce and Pet Snails

May 24, 2009

Two weeks ago when we went to World Fair Trade Day, my dad surprised us by bringing four snails that he had found by the river.  My daughter had expressed interest in keeping snails as pets, but they were only able to find empty shells when they went looking together.  So my dad went back later to see if he could find some. At first we had them in a disposable strawberry container and then when I realized how much fun they were to observe I went and bought them a little box for keeping this kind of pet.  Now we can watch their contractions as they climb up the sides, and it’s a lot easier to take photographs of their behavior.

They love to eat lettuce.  I’ve tried giving them spinach and tomatoes and leaves from peonies, but the only food in which I’ve seen the holes the snails make is the lettuce.  The first Wednesday after my dad gave them to us was my daughter’s turn to take something to Show and Tell at her preschool.  She took the four snails, and they demonstrated their ability to cut little circles out of the lettuce leaves as they ate.

This lettuce that I buy at the Farmers’ Market is so cool!  It comes with the root ball and can continue to grow on the kitchen counter in a bowl of water.  It can also be stored in the refrigerator in a lettuce container.  I don’t know the name of this variety of lettuce, but it sure is tasty!

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  1. May 24, 2009 9:56 am

    I wish I had a sunny spot in my kitchen. It would be nice to be able to keep something green and growing alive in there. The idea of fresh lettuce really appeals to me.

  2. Susannah permalink
    May 25, 2009 12:36 am

    That’s hydroponic lettuce, looks like the bibb variety. My favorite kind by far–there is a place in Dayton that grows a lot of it.

    • May 25, 2009 10:38 am

      Thanks Susannah! It’s probably from the same folks. Maybe I’ll remember to ask next Saturday.

  3. ikkinlala permalink
    May 26, 2009 6:09 pm

    Those are pretty snails – do you know what kind they are?

    • May 27, 2009 5:49 pm

      Thanks! They are just the most common ones around our area. Some have yellow shells and some have brown and yellow striped shells. We have two of each.

  4. May 27, 2009 10:08 am

    Those are really cool pictures! And what a great pet to have… ones that don’t shed fur all over. How often do snails eat?

    • May 27, 2009 5:51 pm

      We give them a chance to have water and lettuce once a day. But usually only one or two are interested. Mostly they hang out on the lid, and seal themselves inside their shells until we pull them off again.

  5. January 3, 2010 12:17 pm

    We just found a snail on Christmas day and my 4 year old named him Gary. We were going to observe the snail for a few days and then let him go, but he really wants to keep it. It has been freezing here, so I don’t want to let him go for now. I am curious how you have your terrarium set up. I have a wet paper towel in mine so he can get moisture, but how do you give them water? I pulled leaves, grass, and weeds from the area we found him and he had not eaten ANY of it. I got all fresh stuff and he still did not touch it. I was afraid he might die, so I “googled” the question….”what does a land snail eat”. One of the sites I went to suggested apples. I gave him an apple and he ate it right away. Do you give them anything other than lettuce? At least now I know two things I can give him. =] Do you have any pics of your terrarium? How long have you had your snails? They are much more colorful than ours. “Gary” is just brown, but cute just the same! =]

    • January 3, 2010 4:59 pm

      Hi, KT. Thanks for your questions. Good luck keeping Gary! We keep a little water dish, like a ramekin used for condiments, in there with the snails. We don’t want to let ours go either, even though my husband thinks they are gross. Plus he feels bad for them and thinks they need to be set free (but not in the snow!) The children think they are interesting, and they are quite low maintenance. We got a small plastic cage from Walmart with air vents on the top. We’ve kept them for seven months so far!

  6. January 3, 2010 10:33 pm

    Aww, that is awesome! I kind of feel the same that they should be set free, and even though we don’t have any snow here, it is still cold. I don’t want to put him out in the cold. lol We have Gary in the same type of container that you mentioned. I will have to get a small dish in there for him. He also likes to hang out at the top where he seals himself in. I wonder why that is comfortable for them? My boys are LOVING having a pet snail. I told them about your snails and that I had sent you a comment. I was interested to see if you still had them or not. It sounds promising for our little Gary. I will just feel so guilty if he were to die. =[ What do you keep in the bottom of your container? Soil? We have leaves and a stick in there for now, but want to make something a little more permanent for him. Thanks so much for your comment back. =]

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