Oreohelix strigosa

(Gould, 1846)
Rocky Mountain Snail

Synonyms: Helix cooperi W. G. Binney, 1858; O. strigosa canadica Berry, 1922.
Cornu aspersum
(Müller 1774)
Petit Gris (Small Grey One)
Synonyms: Helix aspersa, Cantareus aspersus, Cryptomphalus aspersus


Background Information:

Oreo and Odessa are very much-loved pet snails being kept in two separate homes in North America. Although their living situations are quite similar now, their personal stories of how they became pets are very different.

Oreo was born wild and lived in a rock slide high up on a mountain in the Selkirk Range of British Columbia. He (we call him a he but as you may or may not know, Oreo is both male and female - a hermaphrodite) was found by the owner of the Man and Mollusc site Avril. He now resides in her loving home where he lives in his own terrarium with lots of fresh food and water plus any other things a snail would ever want or need. He appears to be quite content and has even grown some new shell. (To learn more about Oreo and his story, visit : Man and Mollusc

Odessa was born wild and lived the first part of her life in Greece. (Odessa is also both male and female but we lovingly think of her as a girl.) Through a series of events and a long ocean voyage, she now resides with other snails who also were on that voyage with her in a loving home somewhere in the USA. We will not disclose her and her friends exact location as she and her mates may be considered pests by the USA government department of agriculture. You see, she and her mates are not really welcome to live where they are and if they were ever to be turned loose they could become a BIG problem. Some of her mates are even classified as illegal immigrants to the USA and if ever found out, they could be taken away from their loving caregivers and destroyed! That would make her human caregivers very sad.

Oreo and Odessa have been email pen pals for awhile now. Odessa has shared her fears with Oreo that she worries about being caught by the law and so do her humans. You see there are some real bad WANTED snails in the world. One of them, the African Giant Land Snail (Achatina fulica), is the most wanted invasive species in the World. Unlike Odessa, he already is a real bad and destructive dude. He is an illegal immigrant and it is unlawful to possess him in most states and many other countries round the world. Still, he is being kept as a pet by many people.

Odessa has a very knowledgeable and responsible caregiver. Her humans make sure that she, nor any of her friends or possible babies, will ever be allowed to go back to nature.

Unfortunately, not all pet owners are as responsible. They may tire of their pet and just release them in nature. Or they may really love their pet and allow it to have babies and then lovingly release those babies into nature. Pet owners may not even realize that these released molluscs may then become a pest to local farms, gardens, orchards, vineyards, lakes, rivers and streams, and to many of the plant or animal species found in that habitat.

Oreo and Odessa decided they wanted to help educate all present and future mollusc pet owners to be responsible humans. With this in mind, they decided not only share their lives with you but to do an in-depth project about the pros, cons, legalities and alternatives that everyone should know about before owning a pet mollusc.

In Oreo and Odessa's words: "You and I are not average snails! We are responsible snails and we have responsible care givers. You and I need to tell others the truth about owning snails like us as pets. We have to help all snails and all of the people who care about us. This in turn will help people all over the world who might suffer if we or other molluscs like us were accidentally or purposefully introduced into their habitats.
Whew! We have a BIG job ahead of us and we're just two small snails...but, even LITTLE snails can make a BIG difference!"

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