This week, some new family members arrived, in the Mad House, in the form of Giant African Land Snails.
Yes, you can see, in the photo, that they are not actually that giant. They are only babies. We have two, named Albert and Delilah (no, I didn’t choose them names, my “creative” kids, came up with those!) They will grow though.
We are very excited. I was a strange child who liked snakes, rats, and stick insects when I was a child, and in fact kept a garter snake as a pet, at school and stick insects, much to my mother’s horror so giant snails, in all their slimy glory, appealed to me. Little Man is particularly thrilled. He loves snails, so to have some as pets, is his idea of heaven. Big Girl is slightly less than enthusiastic, but I am sure she will warm up to them!
They can grow quite large (funny that, given their name) and we do have to be careful about when they lay eggs (we don’t know if they are boys or girls, because snails are hermaphrodites, which means they are both male and female, and can have babies, without the need for a partner of the opposite sex) because unless we want to be overrun with giant snails (sounds like a horror movie script, doesn’t it?) we have to freeze the eggs to make sure they can’t hatch, before we throw them away, because as you can imagine, a clutch of giant snails could do a lot of damage to local plant life, if released into the wild.
We have found this website quite helpful, in setting up and getting ready to look after the snails.
I rather like this picture of a full sized snail, with a “normal” sized snail, for comparison
So that’s our fun news for this week, I am sure watching the snails grow and learning how to care for them and handle them, will be a fun learning experience for all of us!