Harry’s class has spent the last month studying snails.
Each child got a small terrarium. And a snail. It’s been non-stop, with the stories about the snail and trying to decide what to feed the snail and fretting about the snail not wanting his watermelon rinds.
Harry named his “Luke Snailwalker” and wrote a comic strip wherein a snail flew around in an X-wing and blew up the Death Star III.
He came home upset one day because a classmate knocked Luke Snailwalker’s terrarium on the ground and everything got all jumbled up. He came home even more upset the next day because he’d dropped Luke by mistake, smashing a large piece off his shell.
It’s been all snails, all the time up in here.
On Monday he came home with a permission slip – could Luke Snailwalker come home? The snail unit has come to an end, you see, and the snails need ‘forever’ homes.
Sure. It’s a snail. Harry will get tired of it eventually, and then we can set the little fellow free in our yard. The end. So I signed the permission slip, agreeing to ‘adopt’ the snail.
Luke came home yesterday. He was plopped on my hand so I could meet him. His shell is a gimpy mess, although he seemed pretty frisky, for a snail. Various appendages were waving around on the front end and he left a slime puddle in my palm, anyway, so I guess he was happy to make my acquaintance.
His terrarium was given the Place of Honour next to Harry & Ron’s CD player. They spent the evening closeted in their room, playing music for him – The Beatles, mostly – and trying to figure out why he’s not eating his chalk. (Did you know pet snails need to eat chalk? The calcium helps them build more shell. Something this little guy sorely needs, since following his various mishaps he’s practically a slug.) They decorated his terrarium… with snail shells they collected from the beach last year. Michael pointed out how insensitive and threatening that is, as a gesture. Like if I decorated the dayhome with human skeletons.
Today Harry came home with more snail info; specific details for care and feeding. And… hey… there is more to this than I thought.
Keep the soil moist by making sure a bottlecap full of water is placed in the terrarium. The snails like lettuce and carrots, but nothing else. Don’t let the food get mouldy. Don’t forget about the chalk. Keep the habitat in full darkness at night because snails will only eat if it’s dark.
And my personal favourite: “these snails are not native to Nova Scotia, so if you decide your snail needs a new loving home, please do not put them in outside gardens or natural spaces. Thank you!”
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING HELL.
Did I mention snails are asexual reproducers? Males or females can lay eggs. So far Luke hasn’t shown much interest in anything beyond hanging upside down on his habitat ceiling, but if that damn shell heals up WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN.
What am I supposed to do if this damn thing lays eggs? How long do snails live?
WHY DON’T I HOMESCHOOL???
Would it have killed Harry’s teacher to use local snails for this project? I have snails all over my property. Any time it rains, I can quite literally walk out my front door and find half a dozen of the things. I only agreed to let Luke Snailwalker come home because I was counting on setting it free in a few weeks. This does not seem to be in the cards.
Tell me again why we bought these children a dog when a chia pet would have done the trick?