A family in Lancashire is asking for help to rehome 122 giant African land snails, after the pair they were given by a friend laid hundreds of eggs.
Elaine Taylor wanted to teach her daughter Ella about nature and wildlife, but after a busy few months in lockdown, she hadn’t realised that the pet snails had laid the eggs.
It was when veterinary receptionist Ms Taylor looked into the bottom of their enclosure and saw a small baby snail that she knew they had laid eggs.
After putting a post on Facebook, the mum-of-one said she was 'overwhelmed' with the response and says she has had 'hundreds' of messages to respond to.
Speaking to the Lancashire Evening Post, she said: "We got the two snails at the beginning of last year from a friend because the same thing had happened to them and they had been left with lots of baby snails and were completely overrun with it.
"When they are adults they do lay eggs frequently and we knew that, but had ended up missing two batches that had been laid within a few days of each other and next thing we knew there were 122 small snails we had to find homes for.
"There was a panic with what we would do with the snails, so put a post on Facebook which just exploded and my inbox went crazy with people who were interested."
Through her work in pet stores and current job at a veterinary clinic, Ms Taylor wanted to encourage daughter Ella to show an interest in nature and different animals and insects.
And by caring for the two land snails, which could live for more than 10 years, she was on hand to give care advice to people who had messaged her asking for one of the shelled creatures.
Elaine sent care sheets and pictures to people who showed interest on social media to make them aware of the care that the African snails need.
‘Interesting and something different’
She added: "They aren't natured to this country so people need to be aware they need a warmer and humid climate. They need heat mats under the tank and need to be sprayed regularly to keep it damp and moist.
"I think lockdown might have had something to do with why people were so interested in having a snail because they are interesting and it is something different. We have seen a puppy boom in lockdown but it may be more appealing for someone who doesn't have as much time to put into looking after them.
"A lot of people who are interested also have young children and want to get them accustomed to different animals and forms of life. I have managed to rehome some of the snails but I still have about 80 to find homes for."
Ms Taylor was contacted by a giant African snail rescue which has agreed to take in any of the snails that she is unable to rehome.