Overslept Ecology Class? Enjoy Your Private Lesson on Snail Habitat
Although vineyards were a very popular natural snail habitat, you will hardly find any living there today. Due to human interference with nature and organised agriculture, the soil in most commercial areas is simply too toxic for snails. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers make it impossible for snails to survive. But what kind of environment should we offer them?
Snails love chalky soil and despite being killed and poisoned by humans, snails have managed to adapt and survive in different types of environments. A perfect snail habitat can be found in wild gardens, parks, bush and any untouched areas of nature. You may also encounter snails on cemeteries but they are rarely spotted in forests. This is because the food selection in forests is often rather humble, and the earth is somewhat sour in many regions. Snails prefer shady and cool areas that contain limestone. They need a lot of vegetation around them, thus are hardly ever found in areas that have no trees, bush or grass.
Plants are not only crucial for nutrition, but they also offer a snail habitat that is protected from sun and heat. There are many types of snails but the requirements for a suitable environment are very similar among the species. As mentioned earlier, snails prefer shady regions, but there are also a small number of varieties that can handle a lot of sun and live in lawn and open terrain. Thus, their shell protects them from enemies but also from drying out and sunlight. Although they survive in sunny places, they need humidity to survive.
The perfect soil for snails is rich and has had some chemical influence by limestone. Snails are also able to live in earth with a high amount of clay and very humid soil as long as it is not too sour. These types of earth are usually found in mountain regions but a good snail habitat can certainly be created artificially in your garden- believe it or not, some people actually like having snails around! While most people try to get rid of snails because they feast on flowers and veggies in the garden, there are also many who like to breed snails. In fact, snails are a delicacy in many countries and some people just love to eat them. Besides being a culinary delight, snails also get rid of slugs; seems a little ironic but it really helps you to get rid of them. A good way to breed them is to put a few snails in a wooden container filled with loose soil that meets the requirements mentioned above.
Once you created this artificial snail habitat, the container should certainly be closed to stop the little creatures from escaping, but the lid must be made of wire or something similar to let plenty of air through. The soil should always be moist and you must provide shelter and warmth in extremely cold winters. You will find that snails eat almost anything that grows on god’s green earth and they will start making eggs sooner or later. Then you can decide whether you want to cook them or use them as little garden helpers. Bear in mind that if you are planning to eat them you must be selective in what you feed them and make sure everything is 100% organic, including the soil.
If you are a fan of bizarre food or want to get a taste of France, you can try a snail meal. There are different ways to prepare them but before you make a meal, store the snails for 24hours to empty the bowel. Clean them thoroughly (preferably in salty water) and boil them for 5 minutes to ensure they are absolutely clean. Some like to simmer them in wine but the French prefer to bake them with herb and garlic butter with a baguette on the side. Bon Appétit!