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  • Romana (Yates) Smirova

Becoming a blogger :)

Ok, this morning I woke up and decided that there is much more I want to share with the world than a few carefully selected photographs. Oh, yes, I am – obviously – not a native speaker but it cannot stop me and I hope you all forgive me since love for snails is what we share, not love for perfect English :)

I have been keeping snails as pets for over ten years now and I still get asked the same questions. Questions that used to make me angry. Questions that now make me sad. Questions I never get asked when I mention to someone that I keep lizards. “Snails? What are they for?” “So disgusting! How can anyone keep snails as pets?” “What’s fun about snails?” “Wow, you sell snails? People give them away for free!”

I still haven’t found the answer to why snails are more “weirdo hobby subject” than lizards, spiders, beetles or millipedes. Or why trying to breed healthy and big and colorful snails shouldn’t come with adequate price tag.

And last but not least…Ok, snails are not exactly macho animals. You do not tame them by force, you do not outsmart them. You apply patience and tender loving care. You decorate their terrarium to make it pretty and comfortable. You redecorate it over and over again when those ungrateful beasts destroy everything. I guess that explains why snail keeping is a hobby dominated by women. But why should husbands be ashamed of their wives when they choose to devote their free time to caring for their snails instead of baking cookies (or breeding snails aside from baking home-made cookies)? Luckily, I married a man who supports me. Whose self-worth is not based on public opinion of his wife’s hobby. Who shares the great joy every time a rare species baby hatches (even though he sees no real difference between precious acavus and an average garden snail). Who offers a hug every time I run to him crying that the new wild catch from a terraristic event I decided to buy just out of pitty and nurse back to health didn’t make it through the night. A stupid snail? Perhaps… In other words, the best snail breeders I know have the best life partners as well and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all. It is tough to have a snail junkie at home. It really is.

Just a few examples:

1) There is always a box with some snails in the way (that need to be under a close surveillance and yes, of course it is temporary, ha ha)

2) Every trip/walk always have a goal to collect something: plants, branches, dirt…

3) Family vacations start to be expeditions – if there are no snails to observe, there is no interest to go there

4) Temperature in car, house, room is defined by the snail species that is currently present there

5) Best pieces of fruit, vegetables, mushrooms are always reserved for snails

So if you have read through…all the way here, I know we have something in common. We are not the mainstream animal enthusiasts, we share passion for something most people do not understand. In the following posts, I plan to share my experience from snail keeping, photos of my collection or just anything that I find interesting and useful. After ten years, I still see too many snails suffer of neglect, see too many snails ending up in garbage or dumped in woods etc. Breaks my heart and I know now that it is not going to change just on its own.

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