life with snails.
With the onset of spring this year, came Kale's obsession with bugs. I've never seen him so excited or interested in something before and we've been doing everything we can to feed his enthusiasm. We've spent hours looking for bugs, watching videos about bugs, and reading about bugs. While I've never been "into" bugs per se, I'm not grossed out by them either and have no qualms about holding an earthworm or catching a spider. This is probably a good thing considering we now live with four snails.
One day Kale found three snails at his grandparents house and he brought them home and put them in his bug catcher. I have to admit, we all became enthralled with watching them peek out of their shells and slink across our hands. Kale and I looked up snails in one of his favourite bug books to learn about their different parts and what kind of environment they like to live in. For the next two weeks, our snails, named Simon, Hudson & Flash, lived in a bug catcher on our kitchen counter. Every week we took them out, baked some soil (to avoid introducing pathogens), and cleaned their home. Every night we would take them out and let them explore and then I would dutifully spray the bug catcher to keep it moist. And every few days I would wonder why in the world there were three snails living in our kitchen.....
This past weekend, Kale and I took a walk after a rainfall and found many, many more snails. We took our time to clear them from the path after finding one shell crushed. Along the way, Kale found a special snail, called him Flashlight, and brought him home. Which is how we ended up with four snails living in our kitchen.
Last night we decided that the bug catcher was a pretty tight space for four snails, and so Kris drilled some holes in the lid of a large plastic bowl and we made them a bigger, better home.
For weeks we had been feeding them random leaves from outside, along with the odd piece of spinach or cabbage and an egg shell. While we found little evidence they were eating any of it, their poop told a different story. Then I read that snails like iceberg lettuce and so this weekend I bought some. Before we went to bed, I placed three big pieces of lettuce in the bowl. By 7am, there were only shreds of the lettuce left. By 5pm, their bowl was full of green-coloured poop. And then I googled "can snails die from overeating?" (apparently no - but I'll get back to you on that one).
Clearly, the snails are here to stay. If you haven't figured it out, I've become a little invested in our four slimy friends. At a birthday party last weekend, I was able to blow the mind of a seven year old by laying down all my snail knowledge. I also think I caught a few strange looks from some adults.
The thing is, I like the snails and I like that Kale likes the snails. But I know that one day he is going to become fascinated with something new, and I'll be stuck spraying the bowl with moisture and cleaning up their green poop because I can't bear to let them go. Add to this the fact that snails can life 15-20 years and I'm suddenly faced with the possibility of "life with snails" long after Kale moves out......