Free Pet

While walking my city neighborhood last weekend, I did a little stoop-diving (like dumpster-diving, but easier) and picked up a few planting pots. At home, I found a small garden snail with a broken shell in the bottom of one. I put a little water in there, and it seemed very much into it.

So, I can’t put it outside, because it’s got a busted shell. And I can’t kill it, because I keep telling you, I’m not a monster. So I google garden snail care—turns out, people keep them as pets, like fish without water and the non-stop action.

They need:

—A glass tank with a breathable cover, or a clear plastic shoe box with many, many tiny holes drilled in the lid

—Sterilized potting soil to cover the bottom a couple inches deep

—A few rocks and sticks to make a little Planet Fitness for it

—A cleaned eggshell (they eat them to fortify their own shells)

—Some clean kitchen scraps like cucumbers and carrots (in this case, organic really is best, because snails are super susceptible to dying from pesticides--which is the point of pesticides)

—Access to a shallow pool of water—like a baby food lid, but nothing with a sharp lip—they can’t climb it

—A leash, preferably with a chest harness (never a choke-collar; it’ll make their eyes pop off)

—A non-sunny spot to put the whole pile.

Replenish the water daily. Lay the kitchen scraps on a clean lettuce leaf and replace it every few days. Change the potting soil every month. Mist the innards every few days. They like it moist…real moist.

This one seems to be doing okay after a week, gnawing on the eggshell. Its name is Gertrude Slime. I sprinkled some chia seeds in the corner of the box; if and when they spout, it’ll have a little garden to hang out in.

Captive garden snails can live for 5+ years. Until it’s shell heals and it can be released into the wild, I guess the house has another cat. One that might be smarter than one of the other cats, God bless her.