The girls are in an awesome Art Camp this summer, and a couple weeks back, in addition to the weekly armloads of pottery and puppets, they brought home snails (it was Slime Week). Big ones too, maybe two and a half inches when stretched out and in motion. They put the things in jars, from which they promptly escaped. We have three cats, I assumed they would dine on escargot that evening.
Last week youngest found a shell stuck to one of the table legs, almost a foot off the ground. I plucked it off, put it on the table, figuring it was dead. Minutes later, youngest squealed and pointed; the snail was out of the shell and extended, speeding across the table on a trail of slime.
I read up online how to care for snails, made it a cozy little tupperware home: peat moss, rocks, water, lettuce. They live up to ten years, I figured we should take it more seriously this time around. I named it Booger (because of the mucus trail it slides on), but the girls would have none of that and renamed it Princess. I told them snails were hermaphrodites, explained they had both boy and girl parts and could make babies all by themselves. They re-renamed it Prince-and-Princess.
We sprayed it and fed it for two days. Snails are fun to watch (particularly those weird little antennas), and more active than you would think. One morning it was gone again. The lid had been put on loosely and it slipped out (another factoid I learned on the net: snails are strong, and can lift 10 times their weight).
So. Prince-and-Princess is on the loose again in the wilds of our house. He/she's a survivor, for weeks now, so we're keeping out eyes peeled for that tell-tale shell. Or for a smug canary smile on the face of one of the cats.