Snail, or Helix, L. a genus of testaceous insects, comprising sixty species, of which the following are the most remarkable, viz.
1. The hortensis, or Common Garden Snail, abounds in this Country. It is covered with a brown shell, and furnished with two horns, containing its organs of sight, which it protrudes, and draws in, at pleasure. This insect is remarkable for the viscous traces which it leaves behind in its course.
2. The pomatia, or Red Garden Snail, is found in the warmer parts of Europe, whence it has been introduced into Britain ; but, at present, it inhabits principally the southern counties. It differs from the Common Snail in its very deep, brown colour, which approach red. - This species has, lately, been employed in the bleeding piles with uncommon success; fresh insects being laid, in a raw state, on the diseased part, every second or third hour.
Snails are very mischievous in gardens, particularly to wall-fruit; and, though they are preyed upon by numerous insects, such as worms, etc. which breed both in their intestines and on their backs; yet they are in some places so numerous, as to require effectual measures for their extirpation. Hence it has been recommend to strew the ground with lime and ashes ; but the most certain method of destroying them, consists in closing every crevice in walls, as soon as these, nin appear in damp or cloudy weather; and afterwards collecting them by the hand. Thus, in the course of two, or, at the farthest, three years, they will be completely exterminated.
Snails, however, may be made subservient to economical, and medicinal purposes. It is well known that the red snail forms a considerable article of food in Spain, Portugal, and other Catholic countries, during Lent. These insects, indeed, are very nourishing; and, in their gelatinous qualities, bear great resemblance to oysters : they have, therefore, been deservedly recommended in hectic and consumptive cases. (See vol. ii. p. .50.) But, in order to ensure their beneficial effects, the dose prescribed in the page above cited, should be continued for one or two months. or even for a longer period, according to circumstances.