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snail garden for kids - any idea how to make one?

(7 Posts)
jaabaar Sun 19-May-13 17:29:48


As mentioned in an earlier post i try to redo garden.

Since my 3 yo dd loves snails i was thinking of creating a snail garden (like aquarium tank).

Any ideas how to do it?

Would be good opportunity to teach all abt her beloved snails!

Thank you!

quoteunquote Mon 20-May-13 13:19:40

we have giant African land snails (50p), very fun to watch hatch from eggs(anyone who has them will give you babies or eggs), and they grow fast,

a bag of peat based compost(make sure it has no anti snail slug stuff added) will last a very long time, and you can use it in the garden after it has been snail's home,

we started off with the plastic tanks with grid tops, and sliding access hatches,

you need a plant sprayer (exclusive for snail use) tepid water to give a fine mist each day, a heat mat(£5), to sit the tank on, they love a dish of water to wash in, they do go and wash,

cuttle fish from the pet shop(not the beach) they need this for shell development, (washed egg shells when you run out),

they love cucumber, and salad, wash everything well, as you don't want pesticides, near them.

My children have loved their snails, we have all learnt a lot.

ours are now as large as an adult's hand, we have an old goldfish tank, very cheap amusing pets.

just remember not to pick them up if they are attached to anything other than soil as it hurts them, and no detergents anywhere near them, rinse hands and arms carefully if you are going let them slide on you, I use ecover washing up liquid and a green scrubber to clean the tank, the rinse really well,

the soil should be three times the snail hight, as they like bury themselves,

if they lay a clutch of eggs, and you don't want any more, put them on the bird table, or feed them to the ducks.

if you neglect them the seal themselves up, and wait until you give them a quick rinse in tepid water, then they remerge to eat cucumber nosily.

jaabaar Mon 20-May-13 20:40:29

Quote unquote

Thank you so much for all the info, very interesting!!

Would never have been interested before I had my dd.
Amazing what we can learn to enjoy from children!

quoteunquote Tue 21-May-13 10:12:46

as a gardener I have found the experience of looking after GALS, really useful, I have learnt so many things I would never of known, and has really improved my war with british ones, know thy enemy grin

they are very funny, especially when scrap over cucumber, or go for a wash when they wake up.

and they do recognise people, and beg for food, it's very weird.

oopsiforgot Sun 26-May-13 22:24:36

This is fascinating!! And slightly freaky!! I was searching for how to deal with the British ones, I used to find them and throw them into the field behind our house but mumsnet has taught me their like homing pigeons and will crawl back!! Anyway, how long will a GALS live? Do they need company? Do u keep them in their 'tank' outside or in and do you let them out for a slide around the garden?

quoteunquote Mon 27-May-13 15:28:26

I think they like company, they seem to snuggle up together, they live for a good few years if you look after them, You keep the tank inside, and I use a heat pad, they like it,

I buy one bag of peat compost a year, which does then go in my garden when the snails have finished with, they like it damp, so we add warm water when we renew, tip out old, put a layer in, deep enough for them to bury themselves, they can self fertilise so don't need a friend, but I think they are very funny together we have three hand size ones, you can buy them large, but the children love watching them grow.

I wouldn't let them in the garden in case anything hurt them, or they came into contact with nematodes or someones pellets, if you have babies and feed them to ducks, or hens, any left out will die, anyway, as they need warm rain forrest conditions,

when you handle them, you can only lift them off soil, so when cleaning wait until they are on soil, tempt them with cucumber, they follow it if you wave it under their noses, (slowly),

if a child wants them on their hand, they must have very well rinsed hands, and also keep their arms and hands wet, snails suffer on dry things,

The gross bit, i haven't done this, but apparently if you put them on your wet leg, they will eat your hairs.

Anyway once you have seen giant african land snail sex, you will never watch David Attenborough programs the same way again.

and the egg laying is so weird, birds like them though.

middle son wants to be a zoologist, I'm sure it sparked his imagination, it was his teacher who gave him six eggs, in year three.

I keep the food area clean, and mist every day with warm water.

you can leave them for quite a few days, when they get established, if they are warm, damp and have a tray of water, we go on holiday and leave them.

if someone is doing the cat, they drop food in and mist the tank.

one of ours died, so he is air drying in a cage at the bottom of the garden , so DS can have his huge shell,
And they need names suitable for both sexes as hermaphrodite

oopsiforgot Mon 27-May-13 23:29:47

Thank you, not sure as yet but with DH's allergies might be worth looking into as family pet choices are limited to the non-hairy wink

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