We all love our pets, and we choose dogs or cats mostly as our companion.
But one woman has decided to go on a different path, she has chosen a giant African snail as her cuddly companion.
Magdalena Dusza loves her pet, a snail Misiek that she rescued six years ago from a pet shop that didn’t know how best to look after him.
She said: “They kept him in a very small box, with low humidity, which is deadly for snails, and he had an invasion of parasites and damaged the shell.
“At first when I saw him, I couldn’t even recognize the species.
“I didn’t believe he would survive the night and didn’t want to pay for an almost dead animal.
“After a sleepless night, I decided that I have to give him a chance and rescue him.
“That day, I went back and bought him.”
Now Magdalena and Misiek – which fittingly is Polish for ‘teddy bear’ – love nothing more curling up on the sofa together at her home in Krakow, Poland.
Magdalena continued: “I had dreamed about owning a giant snail since I was in primary school.
“We had a similar snail in our biology classroom as a school pet, and I fell in love with these amazing creatures.”
With a 130-liter tank, Misiek takes up a hefty amount of space in Magdalena’s home, but she finds no difficulty to look after him.
She said: “He eats mostly vegetables and fruits.
“His favorites are sweet potatoes and bananas. He is also a great fan of fish flakes food.
“Snails do not have a very complex nervous system, so we don’t interact in the traditional sense like a cat or a dog.
“However, this really doesn’t stop me from talking to Misiek every day.”
While Magdalena is happy with her pet, not everyone liked her choice and people have different opinions about her giant African snail.
She explained: “There are also sometimes negative reactions, like people being disgusted.
“Sometimes they try to joke and ask me if I am going to cook and eat my snail, but to be honest, it is not really funny at all.
“Despite these comments, owning Misiek is a very unusual but rewarding passion, especially when you can observe your snails growing big and healthy.
“Because they are so slow and majestic, observing them is good for nerves, it makes you calm and relaxed.
“I would advise everyone to go and get a giant snail for their own.”