Monday, May 21, 2012

Wait, What? Seven Things You Probably Don’t Want To Know About the Snails in Your Garden

1. Question: “Why are there so (insert expletive) many of them??!!” Answer: Many snails are hermaphroditic, so when two snails mate both snails can lay eggs. Snails lay about 60 eggs at a time and can do so up to six times a year. A particularly fertile snail couple could produce 720 baby slimers a year.  

2. Snails have teeth. They have hundreds, sometimes thousands, of tiny teeth set in a ribbon-like structure called a radula. On a quiet night, if you listen very closely, you can hear the tiny grinding sound.

3. Snails keep the same shell all of their lives. A snail hatches from its egg with a small, weak shell. The newborn eats its egg and the calcium helps harden the shell. The shell grows with the snail until it reaches full adulthood.

4. Some people use snail slime as a face cream. Yes they do.

5. Snails can shut the front door. The bottom of a snail’s body is called a foot. Some species develop a tough part of the foot called an operculum. When the soft parts of the snail’s body are retracted into the shell, the snail seals itself in with the operculum. The operculum grows to fit the size and shape of the shell’s opening.

6. Once a snail colony makes your garden home, there is little you can do about it. Well, there’s plenty you can do about it but not much that works. Some popular methods of trying are beer traps, copper barriers, eggshells, night squashing or relocating raids, and chemicals. When all else fails, you can grow plants snails don’t like to eat. Snails, unfortunately, cannot be trained to eat only weeds.

7. Can’t beat ‘em? Eat ‘em! Escargo, anyone?

For more on these swirl-backed slime trailers, visit and good luck if you are battling them in your garden.

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