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Garden Snail
Helix aspersa

Garden Snail, Helix aspersaThe brown garden snail was brought to this country to provide escargot. It soon became a serious pest. Because of the pesticides and other toxins in urban gardens, I would not recommend eating wild snails. For the table they should be raised in a controlled environment.

Garden Snail, Helix aspersaThe larger tentacles each have an eye on the end.  The shorter tentacles sense taste? smell?  Since these snails have become such serious pests many ways of controlling them have been tried.  When we first moved into this house I tried the common snail poisons.  I found piles of empty shells, but not much reduction in the population.  When we had pets in the yard, poisons were ruled out.  The most effective method I have found is digital, pick them up and dispose of them.  At first it was easy to gather 100 in a day.  Now I seldom find more than a dozen. There is a constant immigration from neighboring yards.

Garden Snail, Helix aspersaTo deny snails and slugs access to my plants I used wood ash from my fireplace.  It was effective, but had to be replaced any time it got wet.  A TV gardener suggested the hard, spiky fruit of the sweet gum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua).  It works for me.

Garden Snail, Helix aspersaAn interesting question is; How much variation is there in the patterns of  the shells?  And does it have any significance?

Garden Snail, Helix aspersaSnails are true hermaphrodites, that is, any two can exchange sperm then both will lay eggs.  Here I have separated them slightly to show their harpoons, which hold them together while mating.  

[Taxonomy : Classification]
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