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   Love's feeling is more soft and sensible

Than are the tender horns of cockled snails;

(Love's Labour's Lost: William Shakespeare)



Snails are a very important part of the food chain. Birds, hedgehogs, toads and trout all love to eat snails.



We can eat snails.

These are called edible snails and are cultivated versions of the snails you can see in your garden. Garden snails can be eaten, but you have to be very careful that they have not been near harmful pesticides. It is also important to clean and prepare the snails correctly.


Snails were eaten by the Romans and they introduced many varieties into Britain which eventually spread to the United States. Very old cookery books have recipes showing how they cooked them.

In France snails are called Escargot.

They are often cooked with garlic and herbs. 



There are many different types of edible snails in the world. The most common are:

Helix aspersa - also called the "small grey snail."

Helix pomatia - also called "the Roman snail."


In California and Japan some edible snails are called Abalone.

In Greece they are called Tsalingaria.

In other parts of Europe and South Africa there is the Periwinkle Snail.

In the West Indies they eat a snail called the Queen Conch.


 Edible snails range in size from about 1 mm long to the giant African snails which can grow up to 312 mm long.    



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