Heliciculture/Gathering Snails

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Besides farming snails, it is possible to gather them free from artichoke, kiwifruit, avocado, and citrus growers in some areas. The growers might pick the snails for you for a fee. In citrus groves where copper bands have been placed around the tree trunks, the snails will crawl up the tree to feed on the leaves. They will stop when they come to the copper band and will remain there for days. The snails gathered just below the band are easy to pick off.

Snails gathered in the wild to stock a snail farm may have a high mortality rate as they adjust to the new conditions. These snails may have consumed poison baits, agricultural chemicals, or poisonous plants (e.g., nightshade); therefore, you should not immediately use them. Put them in a pen and feed them for at least 3 days to purge their system of any toxins and to give them a chance to die if they have consumed a lethal dose. If they are still healthy after 3 or 4 days, they should be O.K.. Withhold all food, except water, for the last 1 to 2 days.