Snail racing has been a popular event for many years, especially popular in China where people like to place bets on snails. World Snail Racing Championships have been held for 25 years at Congham, Norfolk, UK. The 2009 world snail racing championship was held on Saturday 18th July, and the winner was a snail called Terry, which finished the distance of 13 inches in 2 minutes 49 seconds.
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This contest is fueled by the following news: Interesting snail facts:
1. A solution with a caffeine concentration of 1-2% kills snails and with a concentration of 0.01% averts them from a meal. For comparison, a normal cup of coffee contains about 0.05% of caffeine.
2. The snail became the first cyborg and it was possible to fix the neurons of snails on a silicon chip.
3. The entire nervous system of a snail consists of 20 thousand neurons. For comparison, the human brain contains some hundreds of billions of neurons.
4. Snails are used as donors of nervous tissues for the treatment of brain diseases. The first successful experiments in transplanting the ganglions of snails in the brain of rats, suffering epilepsy, have shown a considerable reduction in the number of attacks in them and in some cases the attacks were not noticed absolutely.
5. The small horns of snails are noses turned inside out. All the smell sensors are present inside the nose of a human, but in snails, the sensors are extended in their so-called small horns.
6. It is assumed that snails do not have vision but can only differentiate light and darkness.
7. Snails have about 25 thousand teeth. The teeth are located not in rows but in the form of “radula” with the help of which the snails chew the food.
8. The gigantic terrestrial snail Achatina Fulica can reach up to 20 cm in length. Despite the gigantic size, the average speed of such snail is less than the speed of the usual edible snail.
9. The majority of snails are hermaphrodites.
10. The maximum speed of an edible snail is 7 cm/min.
11. In south and southwest Europe snails are used in food. Snail meat contains more protein than a chicken egg.
12. Syrinx aruanus is the biggest in the available kind of snails. It weighed 16 kg and its house is 70 cm in length. These are water snails and as it is known, their weight decreases in water.
13. In almost all snails, the shell gets twisted clockwise, i.e. to the right if it is observed from pointed end. Sometimes, though seldom, anticlockwise twisted shells are also encountered.
Snails are not sufficient enough in the country which is famous for its cuisine. Annually, Frenchmen consume 25 thousand tons of snails, which is about 700 million pieces. But the market is threatened by a terrible deficiency. As states the Independent, the French food industry warns that it cannot get the required volumes of the product. Experts fear that the prices of snails will skyrocket.
The m reason is that the supplies from Eastern Europe are reducing swiftly. Until recently, the collecting of snails in Poland or Hungary was a favorable way of earning money. An entire “catch” was sold exclusively in France at about 2 cents per piece.
However after the expansion of the EU, the standard of well-being in Eastern Europe considerably rose – and now people simply do not have the desire to go into the woods in search of Helix pomatia. More highly paid jobs are available in the industry.
It is a serious problem for the French market: two thirds of the snails consumed in France are procured from Eastern Europe. The dry summer is another problem and thus, local production is not in a position to fill the gaps in import. Edible snails have become rare in France: they are protected now by the law and the “hunting” of them is permitted only for personal purposes.
The food union Fédération des Industries d'Aliments Conservés has addressed to clients with dramatic appeal and regulated the hike in prices. East Europe snails do not cost two cents per piece anymore and French consumers should reconcile with the price hike. To be true, it is still not clear how strong the price hike of delicacy would be.
And still: fat profits are made by the French chefs rather than the Polish or Hungarian snail collectors. The classical dish – 12 snails in onion sauce – would cost about 5 euros in a restaurant.