In our gardens, everything is a question of balance, each tenant to his own benefit.
Welcoming while regulating the snail population in our plots can be of great service to us.
Let's take a look at this very surprising little gastropod ...
- It is a terrestrial gastropod mollusk.
- There are thousands of species. In Europe, we mainly find the Petit-Gris, the Burgundy snail, the hedge snail and the garden snail.
- It measures between 2 and 6 centimeters.
- The snail lives between 5 and 10 years.
- It is particularly active at night and on rainy days.
- It hibernates in winter under a tile, a wooden board or a pile of compost.
The snail: an atypical physique
Its limestone shell (varied shape and color) allows it to protect itself from its predators, from heat and cold. In case of danger, it goes back into its shell and secretes mucus which forms a slobbery cloud around it.
- It is equipped with two pairs of antennas or tentacles that allow it to navigate. The longest (those at the top) end in the eyes (he is myopic). Those at the bottom allow him to smell, taste and find a partner. They retract at the slightest touch.
- It uses a raspy tongue for food called radula. It has 1,500 to 2,000 teeth.
How does the snail move?
Its body is a mass of muscle that contains all of its vital organs. It is called a foot.
It’s his drool that keeps him going. When his foot contracts back and forth, it releases mucus as it moves.
> What is the snail speed ? It travels one millimeter per second.
The reproduction of the snail
Curiosity, gift or whim of nature, the snail is hermaphrodite. It has a male organ and a female organ which are involved in the reproductive process one after the other. They must be two to reproduce.
- Short-sighted and deaf, the snail spots a future partner with its tentacles by following trails of slime.
- When they have chosen each other, the snails begin a very sensual nuptial dance during which they embrace for a long time.
- They stab each other violently with a sharp, mucus-covered organ called the "love stinger"
The love stinger
The mucus of the love stinger is loaded with hormones that ensure the survival of as many sperm as possible and transmit genetic makeup.
During mating, which can last about ten hours, the snails penetrate and fertilize each other.
- A few days later, they dig the soil individually to lay between 20 and 100 eggs.
- The outbreak occurs two weeks later.
- Baby snails are born with a soft, translucent shell.
- They are adults around the age of two.
- A snail can lay eggs six times a year.
Benefits of the snail in the garden
Having snails in your garden indicates that your soil is of good quality, because the snail quickly detects all traces of pollution.
Much to our regret, the snail feeds on our salads and cabbages, but it can do us a lot of service depending on its species.
Some feed on earthworms, slugs, larval eggs and various corpses.
Others prefer plant debris, dead wood, moss and fungi (even poisonous ones).
The snail thus contributes to the balance of the garden.
Regulate the snail population
- Attract birds in our gardens, because some (like the Thrush) are crazy about snails.
- Place a wooden board or a tile in the places invaded by snails. During the day, they will take refuge underneath and you will only have to move them to release them to the place of your choice or to offer them to their predators.
- Have the ash, sawdust or coffee grounds around your crops. The snails will not be able to reach them.
- Its main predators are the hedgehog, birds, toads, frogs and humans.
- To read: Anti slugs and natural snails
Did you know ?
- Snail hunting is regulated. It is authorized from July to March outside the breeding season.
- Only a few freshwater and sea snails have different sexes.
ATmeditate :“Life is what our character wants it to be. We shape it like a snail its shell. "
© GabrielGonzález Flickr, Scot Nelson