Anya Steffler loves animals. She even loves the animals that some people think are gross or unlovable. One of these such creatures are snails. Snails have become an integral part of Anya’s identity. Her Instagram handle is snaily with an underscore at the end, and on her right arm is a large tattoo that covers most of her upper and some of her lower arm, featuring branches, sweet pea flowers, ladybugs, a beatle, and most importantly six colourful snails.
Anya’s mother tells her that when she was a kid, she’d find her naked in the garden, butt in the air, digging for snails. Her father tells her that he would find snails in her pockets, which Anya notes was mean to the snails, but she didn’t know any better at the time. She recalls sitting in the garden, legs splayed in front of her, racing snails up her legs. She would start them at her ankles and the first one to her knee would win.
Today, Anya has over thirty snails living in a giant cookie jar in her living room. She tells me that she gets her snails by buying aquatic plants at PetSmart. There are always snail eggs on the plants, and they hatch in the water once you get them home. Most people think tank snails are pests, because they breed and breed and eat up your plant life, but to Anya they are pets. She once had an apple snail named Mason that got huge. He was named that because he was given to her in a jar. He lived for six years and she was heartbroken when he died.
Anya herself doesn’t really know why she loves snails so much - she calls it a weird obsession that she can’t completely explain, but as we talk she makes a connection. She moved around a lot when she was a kid, and something about the snail’s ability to carry its home with it wherever it goes, and to retreat within its shell when it needs to resonates with her. It’s a soft, delicate little body protected by a hard exterior of its own making. It’s part of what makes a snail sort of magic, and makes it pretty cute too!
Books for Tats