Witham boy with 150 snails is educating Essex #Witham #boy #snails #educating #Essex #englishheadline


Connor Bouttell wearing gloves to hold a large snail

Connor handles the snails with plastic gloves because of the corrosive oils on human skin

A 17-year-old boy says he is on a mission to educate others on the importance and complexities of looking after land snails.

Connor Bouttell, from Witham in Essex, has about 150 of the gastropods in his makeshift sanctuary at home.

Most of his snails, such as giant African land snails, struggle to survive outside in the UK’s temperate climate.

“I’d like to spread influence, to help other snails in the future,” he said.

“Snails in general are quite hard to look after. Giant African land snails need more care than people realise.”

Since the school student set up his sanctuary and online campaign last year, local people have asked him to rehome their unwanted pet snails or wild ones they have rescued.

Connor’s collection includes archachatina marginata – which can live up to 40 years – lissachatina fulica and octona subulina; none of which are native to the UK.

His sanctuary is made up of two 6ft-long (1.8m) grow tents swamped in woodland vegetation and kept at constant room temperature.

The snails are given a plentiful diet of leafy greens and calcium blocks.

The teenager was asked to host a stand at a local fundraising fair last summer and he is planning to set up his own event this year.

When Connor is not tending to the snails, he also has pet snakes and scorpions to keep entertained.

The RSPCA has previously urged people to consider the care required before adopting giant African land snails and asked anyone who sees any dumped in public to get in touch.

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