Great, some snails in your garden. But if your garden turns into a true snail paradise that’ll quickly be the end of your kitchen garden or beautiful Hostas.
Snails are actually pretty usefull. They clean up dead materials and add these as nutriants to the soil. Next to this they are a tasty bite for hedgehogs, mice, birds, frogs and some bugs. If they are finished cleaning up your garden, they start ‘cleaning up’ your plants. And it’s exactly this moment most garden enthousiasts would rather see snails leave than stick around.
Snails are pretty special animals. They are the only mollusk that lives on land!
The snail has a special way of reproduction. Most are hermaphrodite. This means they are hermaphroditic and thus have both male and female sex organs. There are a few species that can self-fertilize, but most don’t. When two snails mate, they are both fertilized at the same time. Mating usually takes place in the morning.
They find each other by following the slime trail. When they have found each other, they snuggle up against each other and touch each other with their tentacles. A mating can last for hours.
After mating, the fertilized eggs are first developed in the body of the snail. After a few weeks, the snail digs a hole and hides the eggs in the ground or under leaves or stones. It lays a few groups of 20 to 30 eggs and covers them with soil. The eggs of the snail are tiny, only a few millimeters in diameter and usually transparent.
Are snails born with a shell?
The eggs hatch after one to two weeks. They often look a bit like their parents. After a few more weeks, the snails emerge above the ground. They have a translucent shell. Have you ever seen mini snails with a translucent shell? That’s how baby snails look like.
How long does a snail live?
Most snails live about two years. Some larger species can live up to eight years. The Burgundy snail is the longest-lived land snail, it can live up to 25 years.
Is a snail an insect?
No, the snail is not an insect, it is a mollusk.
What about the teeth of snails?
Who has more teeth? The snail or a shark? The snail! An average garden snail has more than 14,000 teeth. You read it right; 14 thousand teeth. The snail’s teeth are arranged in rows of 100 on their tongues and are so small that they pose no danger to humans. A tooth is about 1 millimeter long and super strong.
Do snails have eyes?
On top of the head of the snail are two tentacles and on top of these are indeed the eyes of the snail (so the cartoons are correct). Not all snails have eyes and those that do, don’t see particularly well with them. Often, they can only perceive light.
The snail “sees” most with the tentacles underneath the eyes. These lower tentacles are shorter than the upper tentacles with the eyes and are used to smell, feel and navigate, among other things.
Do snails have legs?
This question sometimes comes up in a quiz. Here’s the answer; the snail has no legs. The snail has a kind of large sole. By contracting and extending this sole, it can move forward.
What do snails eat?
The snail is a true omnivore. They munch dead organic matter, plants, and even small animals.
How to get rid of snails?
Snails can cause a lot of damage in your garden, they eat holes in the leaves of your beautiful plants. It is mainly the slugs that cause the damage. They feel completely at home in moist, shady places and prefer to eat young, fresh green leaves. Fortunately, it is not difficult to get rid of them. Below I discuss several methods.
Get rid of snails with vinegar
Snails absolutely can’t stand vinegar. Fill a plant sprayer with 1/3 cleaning vinegar and 2/3 water and spray it on the crawlers on the leaves. This is an effective, but very unfriendly method to combat these critters.
Nematodes against snails
You can use nematodes to fight slugs. This method is often used by professional growers. Most of the slug population resides in the ground. Naturally, nematodes are already present in garden soil, but unfortunately too little to combat a major infestation of slugs. That is why you can buy extra nematodes to give nature a helping hand.
After releasing the nematodes, they immediately look for their prey and penetrate it. This kills the snails.
This method is organic and environmentally friendly and completely harmless to the rest of your garden. You can use this with confidence in your vegetable garden or with other edible plants.
Garlic against snails
Garlic is an environmentally friendly pesticide against snails. It is deadly to most of them and if not deadly it will at least reduce their appetite. Buy two garlic bulbs and bruise and crush it (yes, the whole bulb). Boil 1 liter of water and add the garlic. Allow this mixture to cool and strain it with a fine sieve or, for example, a pantyhose. Store the garlic juice in a sealable bottle for future use. To treat your plants, add two large tablespoons of your garlic juice to 1 liter of water. Put this, for example, in a plant sprayer and spray your plants. Repeat this treatment every two weeks until the crawlers are gone.
Plants against snails
Are you done with them? Plant plants that snails hate, such as marigold, carnation, violets, ferns, lavender, and herbs such as garlic, sage, and thyme.
Coffee ground against snails
Protect your plants by sprinkling coffee grounds or other products around them. Coffee ground creates a barrier that a snail doesn’t like to crawl over. They dislike dry and sharp products and will keep their distance. In addition to coffee grounds, you can also use cocoa shells, gravel, sawdust, spruce needles, crushed eggshells, or holly leaves.
Which birds eat snails?
The snail has many natural enemies. Hedgehogs, frogs, toads, among others, love a tasty bite of snail. The snail’s biggest enemy is the blackbird. Blackbirds catch a snail and break the houses on a stone, wall, or boulder and then feast on the contents. A blackbird loves a cluttered, natural garden with lots of dense shrubs and hedges. So attract blackbirds to your garden by making it a little less tidy. In addition to blackbirds, jackdaws, crows, and magpies also like to eat a snail.
Catching snails with breadcrumbs
Another method of controlling snails is to catch them and release them elsewhere. They love breadcrumbs. Sprinkle a few heaps of breadcrumbs in your garden early evening. After an hour, all kinds of snails emerge. Catch them and release them somewhere else (not in your garden for example).
Salt on snail
It’s true snail torment to throw salt on a snail. By far the most animal-unfriendly way to kill a snail. The snail is slowly eaten away by the salt, because the salt extracts all the water from the snail. So please don’t.
Snails in the garden
We have already discussed the best way to control snails in your garden. Please don’t panic if you see a single snail in your garden. As mentioned, snails are pretty useful as well. The moment you see your plants being damaged by these crawlers it’s time to take action.
Hostas are very popular with snails. The hostas with thin leaves are especially favorite, the hostas with thicker leaves are slightly more resistant to the snail, but certainly not completely immune. It is mainly slugs that cause holes in the hosta. Protect your hostas by scattering material around them that they don’t like to crawl over, or choose a control method that works better for you.
Would you like to catch snails? Plant marigolds in your garden. Slugs love these plants and are attracted to them. So keep an eye on your marigolds and catch them by hand or with pliers. After this, release your catch elsewhere.
Snails especially like the young dahlia leaves. So be extra alert if your dahlia just emerges above ground.
Snails in Hydrangea
If there are really no other tasty snacks in your garden, the snail will start on your Hydrangeas. And they prefer to eat a hydrangea that already has something wrong with it, one with soft leaves. A hydrangea can get soft leaves due to too little water, insufficient sun, disease, or infestation by insects.
Snails in my vegetable garden
Yes, a vegetable garden is a true paradise for snails. There are four things you can do to control snails in your vegetable garden. You can lure them away, so plant an even tastier snack elsewhere. Another option is to stop them by making barriers of material that the snail does not like to walk over. You kill them, for example by controlling them with nematodes or garlic. Or you make your vegetable garden unattractive to snails. How to do this? For example, by planting herbs in your vegetable garden that they hate, such as mint, fennel, garlic, and thyme.
Snails also hate lavender. They just don’t like the way it smells, and smells so strong, therefore stay away from it. So plant lavender next to, for example, hostas or other plants that you would like to protect, and the snails stay away.
Can you eat snails from the garden?
Yes, you can eat the snails from your garden, but it’s not really a culinary masterpiece. Do you want to try it? Catch a snail and let it live for a while so that it can excrete all the waste and its intestines are empty. Once the droppings are white, the intestines are empty and he is ready to eat. Remove the giblets and fry or boil the snail. Enjoy your meal.
Dog eats snail
Has your dog eaten a snail? Consult your vet and deworm your dog immediately. Preferably choose an anthelmintic that is effective against both larvae and the adult form of lungworms.
Are snails poisonous to dogs?
The snail itself is not poisonous, but a snail can host various parasites which in their turn are poisonous to dogs. The mucus of a snail can also infect your dog. So be alert!
In addition to snails, there are also plants that are poisonous to dogs. You can read more about this in the article Poisonous plants for dogs and cats.