Hi! I hope you’re well. I hope someone answers because this is really the only place we can find and share info on snails and I hope this forum stays alive. Ok to the issue. I have lots of garden snails, in fact I may have an overpopulation problem and I think I have to give some a new home. They’re however outdoors snails living outside but in a confined space and they normally all stay because they are safe and fed. My first batch of babies that are now adults, are between 2 and half and 3 years old. And in recent weeks I’m having a lot of them dying and I’m distraught because I love them so much and I don’t want them dying. I want to ask you how long do your garden snails normally live for? I’m not sure if mine are dying because they’re getting old or I have some parasite or contagious disease problem. I have rescued some more snails from the streets too lately but they’re ok and still alive... please reply to me so I can understand...the internet says they can live for 2 to 25 years?! 25 seems bit much for garden snails but 2 isn’t...thank you in advance
Thank you for your reply. So I have to prepare for all my original babies to die...I’m so sad...in the last couple months I had at least 9 dying. 2 died yesterday. Some of them showed mantle tear but somE looked perfectly fine. I don’t know what to think. I thought they were still young ish. It’s so devastating to see them go. If you see this reply...can I ask you something else please..like I mentioned earlier my snails are outdoors..when I need to isolate some or I find an injured one in the streets I take them indoors and I set up a little enclosure. I wonder how all of you manage to keep snails indoors bc the ones I put temporarily indoors really dislike it. They put up with it for about 3 days not sleeping and then they go into estivation I suppose as it’s always warmer indoors than outdoors where I am. So I came to the conclusion that I can’t keep any indoors and I wonder how others do? They really look and behave miserable.
I can confirm you that they get mantle tear in their normal outdoors environment. But, it may be a coincidence or something more serious, I have noticed that when one gets a mantle tear shortly after others get mantle tear. I think it may be a parasite or just a coincidence. I have tried to fix it with castor oil, green tea baths, chlorine dioxide and it doesn’t save them, they end up dying. I’m keeping a close eye on everyone lately and I’m getting a bit paranoid, if I see one not eating or not moving enough or not coming out for a couple days, I just panic. It’s amazing how lovable snails can be. Personally I suffer from anxiety and they help me greatly, it’s very calming taking care of them. But when they don’t feel well it’s heartbreaking and if I don’t find a remedy online I am very sad. And most often there’s nothing we can do. Thank you for your reply, I’m very happy there’s still ppl coming to this website, I for sure will continue to cm here for reference and to talk about what happens to my snails
I have no idea if that nematode is the only cause for a mantle tear, nor do i know if there is a treatment. If you have observed that one ill snail may cause other snails to become ill, this sounds like a plausible chain of infection. Did your snails "only" show a mantle tear or have you seen snails losing their shells?
If nematodes are indeed the cause of the mantle tear, deworming of affected snails might help - at least in theory.
Thank you for all the links. I have had one elderly snail lose the shell last year and it was a horrible thing to see. He was my favourite snail, very outgoing very friendly very big and strong. Then one day I saw a tear and a couple days later, I still have the image in my mind, I look and I see a snail that at first glance seemed squashed. I go pick it up, see the shell nearby, recognise my beloved and I started a useless rescuing mission, only to just see it suffocating slowly. They don’t deserve this ending. Then a 2nd time this happened with a 9 month old snail, he lost the shell...I actually took an empty shell I had of the same size, covered it with waterproof tape then cut it in half and put snail inside then taped it all close. It was a neat job, I even somehow managed to put the swirl of the body in the right position in the new shell. It worked for 2 days but as the snail moved and new shell slightly wrong size, and swirly end of body coming lose, the new shell fell off. I think it could be a good method for a less active old snail. I know it’s not going to solve the issue but I just wanted to buy time and brainstorm. After losing new shell, I tried the same thing again but I didn’t have empty shells that would fit so I just left snail as it was, trying to keep it hydrated. She died. But my theory is that she died of constipation. She didn’t want to eat, but I was spoon feeding her for energy but I think without the shell they can’t poop and so she died a bit bloated in the digestive tract of the body. Also if they don’t poop, the food will start decomposing and fermenting causing bloating and sure death. So these are the only 2 times I saw total loss of the shell. Last time was a couple months ago with the 9 month old, and the other adult snails that are having mantle tear didn’t lose the shell but displayed mantle tear and after few days the mantle tear is still there and they seem to become retracted or to lose body mantle size and even when awake and moving, their mantle doesn’t align with the shell lip anymore, almost like they’re wasting away. It could be related to mantle tear, which I noticed happening on the side of the breathing hole, difficulty in breathing eating pooping and then bc of not feeding then losing body mass, and mantle sliding back in the shell. I seriously hope I don’t see total loss of shell anymore bc it’s too much. I can’t kill them you see, so I just have to watch them suffering. I know I should be mercy kill them but I always hope something happens and they survive. And to be honest with you I had some cases where they came back to life, I’m not joking.
When I first noticed that one of my Cornu aspersum snails had mantle tear I wasn't too worried. I knew about other snails (Helix pomatia) that often show mantle tear when conditions are too warm and too humid. When it gets cooler everything is fine again.
But this Cornu had its mantle hanging out of the house for days - and one day the body slipped out. I was kind of shocked. At that time, I have never heard of a complete loss of shell before. Since I knew that Cornu aspersum is really good in repairing its broken shell, I tried to cover the soft body with thin plastic foil. The idea was to prevent it from drying out until a new shell would start to grow. After 5 days the snail died. I examined the dead body and had to see that there was not the slightest sign of a newly formed shell. Usually, Cornu aspersum shows first signs of healing (a transparent skin) around two days after losing a part of its -crushed or otherwise damaged- shell.
I found no signs of a repair attempt by the snail and I found no signs of that nematode mentioned in my post above, the "Angiostoma aspersae". I am completely clueless about the cause of such a shell loss!
If the reason was a disease or a parasite we could at least start to look for a cure...
I agree with what you said about your snail losing the shell and not showing any new growth after few days. My theory on this is that if they suffer shell break, and a little bit of the shell is still there, namely the centre swirly bit of when they were little, they will repair. But when they slip out of shell and there’s nothing left, they die. Almost like they need that bit of shell on them to start the repair. And you are right, I looked for parasites too and saw nothing. The shells were clean like there was never a snail inside. And in regards to my present problem, funny how after you mentioned the white mites, I inspected one of the snails I have in quarantine at the moment and she has got the mites. I managed to kill 3 from her body. I wanted to wash her but she has got the mantle retracted and a bit detached and don’t want water to go in between mantle and shell so I’m having in isolated and trying to feed protein, sunflower seeds, salad and calcium but she not eating very much. She’s in distress. She keeps going inside the shell and putting her heads in between the gap mantle shell, I think she can feel the mites moving around and she is trying to nibble at them. I’m not sure what to do other than keeping an eye on her and trying to feed her. I normally buy a wormer mix from the internet which is made of hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, other seeds, and diatomaceous earth, but I actually read on this forum that DE is dangerous for snails because it causes the mantle to detach. So I’m not giving it to them anymore but if so I don’t understand why the seller sells it, they’re very reputable and idk anything anymore. So going back to the snail. She’s shrinking, keeps falling from the wall when she sleeps bc her body is far away from the shell opening, and broke a big chunk of shell with one fall, and so I’m just monitoring and don’t want to put her outside and spread the mites to others. I’m considering buying those little critters that solve this issue. Have you had any experience with them?
Also, another very gruesome thing happened yesterday. I was feeding the snails in my car park which are not my snails but I do feed them too every now and then. I saw something strange from afar. I go pick snail up. This is the situation. It was 2 snails that didn’t manage to detach after having sex. Both snails organs were hanging out and swollen. And one of the snails, trying to get free, must have twisted and turned so much that the other snail was dead with the head and neck twisted tightly on itself and must have suffocated, or idk but it was dead. So I tried to pull them apart but I couldn’t. And the live snail was bubbling so I couldn’t see anything. In the end I just pulled very very hard and they came apart. But the live snail had a lot of bits hanging and I think some was bits from the other snail still attached. I then looked to where I thought I could cut the dead snail bits from other snail and I did cut it. I think I was ok bc during the cut the live snail didn’t feel pain or showed sign of pain so I must have cut off the right bit. Then I bathed the snail hoping the sexual opening would retract but so far it didn’t. I put snail in a little plastic box with salad for some rest. But I think there must be still something stuck so the organ is not able to go back inside. Idk how many days they were suffering from. The dead snail wasn’t dry, I thought it may have been alive ish still, but the body was too much twisted on itself from the other snail so it was def dead. I have never seen anything like this. Deadly sex. I feel so so bad for them, so many problems.
I do not know if keeping a little bit of the apex would help a snail that has slipped out of its shell, at least theoratically.
I remember that the soft body under the shell felt "slimy" whereas the soft body under a broken shell does not, and after just a few hours it starts to be covered with a thin paper-like coating. Probably this unusual slimyness is one reaon why the snail loses its shell in the first place.
And yes, I do have experience with the "good" mites, Hypoaspis miles! If you have more that just a couple of snails in one container, they are probably the only way to get rid of snail-mites and to KEEP them away. If you do snail care any new snail might carry mites and thus infect your other patients again. It is helpful to have the "good" mites always around in your container(s). As far as I know they are only available in large quantities.
I have no experience wth diatomaceous earth but suspect it will not help against snail mites just because those mites are highly specialized and do not feed on anything else than snail"blood".
I have never seen a snail dying during sex - this is the weirdest artistic performance I ever saw: One snail fell off after a couple of minutes and both snails remained unhurt.