I keep snails as pets. Nothing exotic or fancy, the cool giant ones aren't legal here, they're just regular garden snails that I find outside. It's an unusual thing to do, I know, but it is a thing; I'm not the only person who does this. It's definitely not common though, so I'm curious if most people would think it's just unusual in the true meaning of the word of simply being something non-typical, or if they think it's the kind of unusual actually meaning weird. I don't think it's weird, they actually make good starter pets, but I could see other people thinking it is, at least at first, because it's for sure out of the ordinary and so maybe not something most people would really think of.
It first started many, many years ago, when I was a kid. I was overturning some boards or something and found a bunch of snails in one place and I don't know what initially prompted me to want to keep them but I put them in some kind of container with a little grass and watched them eventually come out of their shells and move around. I thought they were really neat! I'd never really taken a close look at one before and I found watching the way they moved and acted to be legitimately interesting. And I don't know if this is just me, but I genuinely think they are cute with their little eyestalks that look around.
I didn't really take special care of them beyond adding a water dish and occasionally putting fresh grass in so eventually they died, but I regularly found more around and would add them to the container. This cycle went on for a while, then I stopped. But about every year or so I would come across another snail or two around the house and start a container up again for a little while before stopping again for a while. So I haven't been doing this constantly, but it has been a constantly off an on thing over the years all the way until the present. And as time went on my attention paid to the conditions I kept them in and care I gave to them improved each time until I got genuinely serious about it the last time I started up again.
I just began work on a project that I've wanted to do for a long time: creating an actual full featured terrarium to keep my current snails in, which was the motivation to finally get this topic posted. Let me know what you think about this concept and maybe I'll provide updates on the process if you think it's interesting rather than weird.
To be honest, I'm not sure I'm a snail person myself, because they always struck me as being like slugs, and slugs have been on my bad side since they used to come into our old house. But It's possible wider exposure could change my mind; I didn't think much of many reptiles (or especially snakes), but one very enthusiastic and charismatic reptile enthusiast on YouTube has significantly elevated my opinion of the class.
I'd certainly like to see what you have to show us in this.
Slugs are absolutely gross; I cannot stand them. I wondered if becoming so fond of snails would change my mind because they do tend to be grouped together, but no, they are completely different creatures.
Haha, I personally would not keep snails as pets, but I also have zero pets and intend to keep things that way. I think it's a lot better than snakes or spiders or other way ickier things that people think can be pets, so hey, why not? I'd be curious to see the terrarium-building process!
Here's a couple of my snails drinking some water. Aren't they cute? Am I the only one who thinks that?
On the subject of interesting things that watching them closely discovers, did you ever wonder exactly how they slide themselves along the ground? I had never given it any thought before, but now I know because I see them crawl up the clear sides of their container. Unfortunately the camera doesn't focus too well on this, but you can see what's going on.
And this is watching one just looking around. He had just came out of his shell here, either from being added to the container for the first time or from waking up after I cleaned the container up one day, don't remember which, but either way this is how they take in new surroundings.
Here's a photo from a few years back when I was keeping the most I've had at one time.
You'll notice that they all look nearly identical; the most variation I've had is once I found a couple that were pretty small. Still looked the same as all the others, they were the same kind of snail, just a different size than I usually find.
But then there was this little guy.
Unfortunately not the clearest image, I wish I had taken more while I had him. This was one of my favorites because it was the first, and so far remains the only one I found that was actually a different type of snail. It had a different kind of shell, a really thin vertical one compared to a round garden snail shell, and he was a neat pinkish color with darker accents on his eyestalks and antenna that just gave him a cool and different look. He was also quite a bit smaller than the usual snails I have so it made him seem even more like a cute little guy.
He also moved differently. I don't know if I can really explain how, it's just something I noticed from having so much time watching how they usually move, but the other snails make what I would call gradual determined movements, while this little guy seemed really smooth and quick in comparison and he seemed to look around more and that kind of thing.
Unfortunately when I found him I noticed that something had made his shell really fragile, so he didn't last very long.
What're some of the differences?
I admit the shell goes a long way towards the aesthetic appeal. I can kinda see why you like them, although that doesn't extend to my wanting to get some of my own snails.
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Your snails are awesome!
I don't know if I can really articulate the difference, it's just something you recognize if you closely observe both creatures. (Though I don't advocate close interaction with slugs at all. *shudder*)
I'm sure the shell helps a lot, like you said, but I really think there's more to it too. Slugs are just crawling blobs of slime, they're incredibly gross. Snails actually aren't slimy, at least not in the same way. And they don't tend to leave trails of ick everywhere they go; they can at times, but it's not constant like with slugs. And I believe snails are more 'expressive' in their 'face' in ways you just don't see in slugs, at least not any of the ones I've looked at.
Here are a few more old videos and photos I found:
I took this when one of my snails was particularly active one day and really cruising around the container.
Drinking again, I just think it's so cute how they lean down and lap water up just like any other animal.
This was everybody deciding to go crawl up the same wall at the same time.
And this was another of my favorites.
You can't tell from the photo since there's not another one there for scale, but this guy was massive compared to the usual size I find. Really set him apart from the rest of the batch I had at the time.