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Colin, the Giant African Land Snail, continues his conquest of St Cuthbert Mayne School
Colin, the Giant African Land Snail which the specialist recycling company, Waste King, saved last year, has become both a teaching aid and a great hit with Sophie Dowling’s class at St Cuthbert Mayne School, Hemel Hempstead.
Last September, having read in a local newspaper about Colin’s last minute reprieve, Sophie, who teaches a Year 3 class at St Cuthbert Mayne School, asked Waste King if her school could ‘borrow’ the snail - and Waste King agreed.
So the snail - named ‘Colin’, by the Waste King operatives who had been keeping him in a large glass tank and feeding him a diet of apples, bananas, lettuce and cucumber, with some added cuttlefish to provide some much needed calcium – went to stay at the school, in the care of some 30 seven year olds. He became an instant ‘hit’ with the children.
According to Sophie, one of the class’ science topics is studying habitats – such as the snail’s need for damp soil and a dark place for sleeping. She has also been teaching the children how to look after a creature, demonstrating basic care such as feeding, watering, cleaning out and so on.
Waste King’s managing director, Glenn Currie, said: “Although all of us at Waste King are extremely fond of Colin, we couldn’t deny him the chance to see a bit more of the world and to make some new friends – which he has.
“Besides, it’s great that Colin can help the children develop their understanding of another aspect of looking after this planet: protecting the environment and the creatures that are so valuable in keeping it ‘healthy’.
“Of course, we’re delighted to get some news of Colin, from time to time, so we can see how he’s getting on,” he said.
About the Giant African Land Snail
The Giant African Land Snails are molluscs. They can live for several years and grow up to 20cm in length. The snails are most active during the night (they are nocturnal).
These snails can be housed in a variety of containers. A good container is a glass or plastic aquarium tank. The snails like to burrow, so when you have your tank, fill it with several centimetres of peat-free compost and a large piece of bark. (If you collect the bark yourself make sure that you soak it in water overnight to remove any nasty chemicals). Make sure that the substrate is kept moist at all times, but not soggy. Leaf litter and moss are also good at keeping the soil damp. The tank should be kept at 20°C - 25°C, which means that a small heat mat or pad is necessary during the winter months. The tank should be kept moist and a plant spray is ideal, providing it hasn't been used with chemicals as these could harm your snails.
If snails are not kept in correct conditions they may seal the aperture (opening) to their shell and wait for conditions to improve. If this happens you should make sure you are keeping the snails correctly. Once you have resolved these housing issues you can encourage the snails to open up again by bathing them in lukewarm water.
African Land Snails will eat a wide variety of things. The best food is lettuce and cucumber but apple, banana and cabbage can also be given. However, if you give your snails food that goes off quickly (like banana and apple) be sure to remove it when it has gone brown so as not to make your snails ill. An essential part of the snails’ diet is calcium. This is used to keep their shells strong and healthy and calcium can be provided in the form of a cuttlefish bone.
All snails are hermaphrodites. This means they have both male and female sex organs so, although you need two snails in order for them to breed, it doesn't matter which two. If conditions are ideal, the snails will produce nests of small, white round eggs. These should be removed very carefully, so that the adults do not disturb them, and placed in a small container containing some damp peat-free substrate, where they should hatch after about 14 days at 20°C - 25°C. Keep an eye on your eggs, and as soon as they hatch give them some food and cuttlefish.
About Waste King Ltd
A specialist collections, clearance and recycling company, Waste King serves the domestic and commercial markets. It focuses not only on providing a friendly, efficient, cost-effective service but also one which is environmentally friendly. In particular, Waste King’s uniformed, Environment Agency-licensed staff take time to ensure that the maximum amount of waste can be recycled and that all the waste it collects is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.
Waste King was formed, in 2007, by Glenn Currie and Andy Cattigan, who had experience in sales and IT respectively and were keen to ‘do something to help the environment’
Further information from:
Waste King Ltd, 0800 234 3657 / 07761 577001; glenn.currie@
Bob Little Press & PR, 01727 860405; firstname.lastname@example.org