Snails are burrowers and live beneath the soil or in shaded areas. They have a spiral shell which doubles as protection and shade. The shell is 98% calcium-based. The pedal gland produces an adhesive substance that allows the snail to crawl.
Land snails also have a muscular foot, one or two pairs of tentacles, and lungs with which to breathe air. They have hard shells and lay many eggs during mating season, sometimes numbering one hundred depending on the species.
Snails have a mouth and a radula tongue with small corneous teeth for grabbing food, and salivary glands for digestion. Snails are hermaphrodites and have organs of both sexes, and are able to procreate with each other. Both ‘male’ and ‘female’ snails lay eggs.
Snails take around 8-12 months to reach adult maturity and weight gain before they can be harvested for food consumption.
Snails as Food
Snails can be added to stew, boiled with vinegar, fried, grilled, stewed or cooked in spicy sauces. They are a delicious source of protein with fewer health hazards than red meat. Snails should be thoroughly cleaned and cooked to prevent infection, especially if harvested from the wild.
Snail meat can be found canned, boiled and salted, fried in oil and served as snacks, or cooked and spiced.