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#1: Odessa talks to Oreo about Helix aspersa Snails:


My Dear Oreo,


I know you are upset about me being on the "most wanted pages". Well, please don't be. There are very many good reasons for me being on that list. Just because you love me and I'm your best friend does not mean that we can be selective as to who we pick for this list. I'm not proud to call myself a pest snail nor do I take pride in referring to my mates as pest snails; but the facts speak for themselves, we are agriculture pests..

Helix aspersa


Oreo as you are quite aware, I and my terrarium buddies do not belong here in the USA or in any other country outside of Greece, our home. We were born in Greece and we were not classified as pests there.

Millions of my species and other foreign snails just like me have done so much damage to environments where we did not belong. We have destroyed citrus orchards, nurseries full of beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees. We also attacked and ate: private vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, vegetable farm produce and many fields of grain. Oreo, I'm sad to say we are eating machines. I tell you this with a heavy heart.

Almost a hundred years ago, we were brought here to the United States, because a man developed a taste for us. Yes, I'm sorry to say that once again it was irresponsible man who gave who us a bad name. He had us imported from Europe to satisfy a desire he had for our taste (I'm sure you know that one of ours names is "escargot"). Helix aspersa Escargots multiply very quickly and as time went by, many snails either got released or escaped from escargot farms. They entered environments that were not their own and it was an environment that certainly was not prepared for their kind. (NOTE: Did you know that man actually farms snails for the food industry. This kind of farming is call Heliciculture)

Unlike you Oreo, we love to eat just about anything. We eat almost all fruits and vegetables - just about every fruit and vegetable you could think of. You probably won't understand this Oreo, but the truth has to be told. We even eat trees and shrubs. We can ruin a whole citrus orchards! And, we don't stop there either. I know you think that flowers are pretty and smell good, well Oreo, flowers are nothing more than good tasting snacks to us.

Where did all the food go???? We're still hungry!

A single Helix aspersa can lay 430 eggs a year! If Demeter, Damien and I (we're all Helix aspersa) were to go free from our terrarium home we could lay 1,290 eggs in just one year. If all our eggs hatched, and those snails had babies the following year, we would have increased our number to 554,700 not counting us!!!! Well, can you imagine what we would do to our human families garden and land. Also all the native snails that live on this land would probably starve to death because we ate all their food as well. We are bigger and stronger then the native species who live in this area. We would eat everything, even Mom's pretty flowers that she loves so much. We wouldn't be able to help ourselves, its just our nature.

Oreo,because irresponsible people decided that eating us, was more important then ruining the environment we are now in all these places:
"Burch (1960) reports natural distribution in Britain, western Europe, and along borders of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. It has been introduced into the Atlantic Islands, South Africa, Haiti, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Chile and Argentina. In the United States, Capinera (2001) reports it in California and along the west coast north to British Columbia, Canada, in most southeastern states and along the east coast north to New Jersey. However, it has not developed the serious pest status found in California. Although occasionally intercepted on plant shipments to Florida, it has not become established in this state." Source

This statement was made more then forty years ago and I know we are probably more of a problem now

Something else we do that is not good. We like to eat all kinds of grains too. We not only eat the grain but, we get into farm machinery that picks crops and this ruins the grain we did not eat to begin with. Not to mention that it squishes us and ruins us too!

All over the states people are spending lots of money to get rid of us. To people we are little eating monsters. Man lives in fear for their crops, trees, shrubs and grain fields and all they grow for eating, selling and pleasure.

All this because of people's appetite for escargot and his consequent careless behavior for allowing us access to foreign environments. Man can be so irresponsible.

All this makes me very angry and also very sad.

Angry because it never needed to happen. Every pest snail is a pest because someone introduced them to environments where they were never meant to be. What were they thinking? Oreo that would be like you or me having a Giant African Land Snail set free to live with us in our terrariums. Our small but satisfying meals would be gone so fast that we would starve to death. That's exactly what is happening to every native snail when non native snails are introduced into their environments. I also feel really bad for the farmers and people who grow crops too. Because of a few people who were thoughtless and irresponsible they are suffering now as well.

Sad whenever I think of my beautiful county of Greece where I was taken from. My country will always be precious to me, even though I will never see Greece again, the pictures of my homeland will always stay with me in my mind. I'm even sad to think that what is happening here could happen there as well.

Oreo, this trsansplanting of non native species can happen anywhere in the world. So, you and I must stand united in our task to get the word out to people. We will stand tall on our foot and proudly do whatever it takes to make people be responsible for their actions. Man must start looking at the bigger picture and not just themselves and the moment.

This is my brother Demeter. He is doing what comes natural to all of us snails after eating a BIG meal - We poop!

Can you imaginge what a few thousand of us would lave around your home every day!!!


So even though you worry about my feelings being hurt because people may think of me as a pest, worry not my friend. Yes, I and my kind are pest snails. I do not belong here. But here I live. Not of my own choosing. However, I and my mates now have a very responsible human carrying for us. She was given us by a person who could no longer look after us. Mom, as we call her, even destroys all the eggs we lay. She even burns all the old soil from our terrarium just so an egg can't, even by accident, get released. So, I and my mates will never add to the population of pest snails. I have a very good life, not the life I would choose but a life I am very happy and comfortable with.

And my friend, I have you to hold my foot when I hear distressing things about what my kind are doing to this beautiful country. If only people would think before they act. As always it comes down to the same two words-

Be responsible.

So Oreo, please don't worry about me. I am fine with all of this. I am throwing you a big fat snaily foot kiss!



See: The "Most Wanted Poster" for the Helix aspersa Snail:
by Oreo and Odessa
edited for content by Avril Bourquin



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