Snails are a common garden pest that love to eat young plants, making it hard to maintain a flourishing vegetable or flower garden. There are many ways to get rid of them. Killing them by getting rid of their protective mucous membranes is one way. This can be done several ways. Shards of glass, eggshells, and broken pieces of pottery all cut into their skin, causing the mucous to ooze until they die of dehydration. Placing a jar tipped over ground level at night with a couple inches of beer will attract the snails. Once they get inside, the yeast in the beer will go to work on removing the mucous from their skin, and they will drown. Another method is to lay a board near your garden. They will climb onto it at night, and in the morning you can dispose of them as you please. Coffee has been known to kill snails by accelerating their heart rate, causing them to die from heart attacks. This can be done by sprinkling leftover coffee grounds around your garden. There is an iron phosphate based poison on the market called “Sluggo.” It will not dissolve in the rain, and is effective at killing snails without harming your plants. Other snail killing pesticides use a chemical compound called metaldehyde, and this can kill dogs, cats, and other small animals, so it is not recommended. Snails also like shade. Things left in your yard, such as piles of debris and sticks, are a favorite hiding place for snails. Removing them from your yard or away from your garden should discourage snail activity in your garden. Another method not discussed is using them for food. Snails are a popular dish in restaurants over in Europe, and if cooked thoroughly in a frying pan, at least 161 degrees fahrenheit to kill the bacteria, some find that they taste good with salt.
Snails come from all over the world, and they are a type of mollusk called gastropod mollusks. A mollusk is an animal in the mollusca family. They are invertebrates, and typically have a shell which encloses their soft tissue. Most snails live in aquatic environments, but the ones we are concerned with are land dwellers. Some people are opposed to killing animals, even pests, so let your conscience be your guide. Simply removing the snails is not always an effective solution because they can always come back. It’s up to the individual. A lot of times, snails can be discouraged from coming into the area of your garden in the first place by simply removing anything that would attract them, such as shady objects of any kind. Probably the most humane way to kill snails is by using one of the chemical based pesticides like “Sluggo” to get rid of them. Some people choose to keep snails as pets or for research. This might be a creative way to remove the problem critters from your garden. Just be sure to tape the lid shut on the container you’re keeping them in. They can easily escape by using the momentum granted to them by their mucous membranes. Snails have extremely muscular exoskeletons. The best thing you can do is to take some preventative measures like using some mild repellents that will discourage snails from coming into your garden, as well as not leaving anything for them to congregate under. If you only have a handful, just removing them and placing them back in their natural habitat, such as by lakes and rivers, might be the best of all possible solutions. Even if you have no natural lakes near your home, a man made lake might do just as well. Just don’t put them in the water, as we are referring to the land dwelling type of snails. All in all, just getting a few out of the way will help to ensure that your young plants keep growing as they’re supposed to. Don’t worry if you miss one or two, because after a few days it will show up again. Checking the soil for eggs is also a good idea, as many snails are asexual, meaning they can reproduce by themselves. The less harm done to the snails and the garden, the better.