Snails

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Some snail facts you should know about:

  • Snails… are a nightmare in the garden and the potting shed.
  • My heart breaks when I check my gorgeous seedlings in the mornings and they have been munched to stumps… all gone!
  • Snails hide in the day, usually underneath the seedling trays or under leaves and come out every night for a midnight feast.
  • They are quite clearly not my friends, but they are very cute and are rather interesting. Here are a few cool facts about snails:
  • They  are nocturnal.
  • They have lungs or gills.
  • Snails with no shell are slugs!
  • They have no backbone.
  • They have a ribbon-like tongue called a radula, cvontaining 1000’s of microscopic teeth which rip plants up into tiny pieces.
  • Common garden snails have a top speed of 45m per hour, so they can travel 1km in a week!
  • They are the slowest creatures on earth, hence the sayings ‘snail pace ‘ and ‘snail mail’.
  • Snails can live up to 25years depending on their species.
  • Snails are hermaphrodites and hatch from eggs.
  • Snails can sleep for hours or up to 3 years.
  • Snails have eyes on the end of their longest tentacles, but have no ears and can’t hear.
  • Snails are eaten as a delicacy in France  and snail eggs, known as white caviar or escargot pearls  is farmed worldwide. One snail typically lays roughly 4g of eggs a year.
  • Snail mucus is used in skin care preparations to help hydrate skin, prevent  skin aging and improve wrinkles and scars.
  • Snails do then have a few useful contributions to the world, just not useful in my garden and potting shed!

Pest control for snails:

  • Snails thrive in moist wet conditions, so as summer approaches, snails start to disappear.
  • Apply salt or diatomaceous earth around your seedlings or seed trays.
  • Snails love rolled oats, so sprinkle oats around your protected plants. Snails will gorge themselves on the oats and leave your plants alone.
  • Slugs can be baited with bird feed.
  • Both snails and slugs find climbing over broken sharp eggs shells or similar deterrents very uncomfortable.
  • Visual checking every day or night is the most effective snail patrol method. Check under the seed trays and send snails flying!