Monday, April 21, 2014


A month or so back I brought a new houseplant home. When I went to water it I discovered that I got more than I bargained for.

Meet Walter.

At first I tried to ignore Walter, hoping he (actually s/he is a hermaphrodite but we don't have a good gender neutral term in the English language) wasn't still alive when he arrived.

No such luck. 

This week Walter came out of hibernation/ estivation and starting taking walk-abouts so I knew I had to do something. A logical thing to do would be crushing him.

I couldn't justify that to myself - why destroy him just because he ended up in a houseplant I bought?

But I know enough biology to know I can let him go, either. This isn't where he's from and even if he can survive in my garden (and eat my hostas, shudder!) he could bring diseases to the local wildlife.

So I sent The Husband down to the basement to haul out the old herpetarium. This is a set up I bought when a Cuban Tree Frog ended up at a local garden center and I took him in (he's long since passed away, rest in peace, Mack). Now it's clean, with a nice layer of composted leaf litter, a water bowl, a hide and some food. We'll see if I can get Walter to eat anything. Strangely enough there isn't a lot of information out there on how to care for garden snails in captivity... I'm having to use data from a UK site on keeping Giant African Land Snails (illegal in the US).

Every life counts, even invertebrates.

PS. Even if Walter doesn't make it this herpetarium is ideal for growing Pepperomias and other small humidity loving plants! bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!


  1. I ended up with a pet snail a couple of years ago--named it Thysbe. Thysbe lived in a big mason jar in our bathroom. The solid top of the jar I replaced with a screen mesh. I lined the bottom with dampened paper towels cut to size and fed him/her celery, red leaf lettuce, herb mix salad greens and pansy blooms. Also--don't forget to provide egg shells--washed and with the membrane removed from the inside--snails need the calcium for shell-building and maintenance. Gotta tell you , though, snails don't smell so good. After a few months of tending daily to Thysbe's needs, I chucked him/her into the weedy wilds of my neighbor's organic and pesticide free back yard (quite likely where it came from in the first place.)

  2. Would love a report on Walter, his health, his habits, his smells.