"Escargot" refers to two species of edible snail: Helix aspersa and Helix pomatia, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farming snails, or helicicultivation, allows the cultivator to harvest and eat these snail species. The French popularised both the aspersa and pomatia species, which are native to the Mediterranean region. Snails mate hermaphroditically, meaning they may take on the role of either sex when mating. Mating occurs in late spring or early summer following courtship. Snails must be of the same species or they may not mate.
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Things you need
- Large terrarium
- Plastic container, at least three inches deep
- Garden soil
- Peat moss
- Snails, at least two
- Spray bottle
- Fresh lettuces and other vegetables
Fill half of the bottom of a large terrarium with gravel three to four inches deep. Cover the gravel with a half-inch of peat moss.
Wedge a small plastic container, at least three inches in depth, into the gravel. Fill with sterile garden soil.
Add two inches of lukewarm water to the terrarium.
Place two snails in the terrarium.
Cover with a terrarium screen. Place a variety of lettuces on the gravelled area along with other vegetables and wild plants such as sliced cucumber and nasturtium.
Spray the terrarium with a spray bottle filled with aged tap water. To age the water, allow it to sit in an open container for at least 24 hours to oxygenate the chlorine.
Remove and replace rotting food. Remove the container of soil after a snail digs a hole and lays eggs inside. Transfer the container of eggs to another terrarium and await hatching. Hatching occurs after about 25 days.
Tips and warnings
- Build an outdoor snail habitat with planted green leafy vegetables. Create a pen around the plants that sits at least five inches in the ground and two feet up. Cover the pen with a fine plastic mesh to prevent escape and predators from gaining access.
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