It seems we all have unwell snails from time to time and unfortunately information is non-existant. Non-snailers are more concerned about killing them than saving them.
So I think it would be worth anyone who has unwell snails to chronical what is going on, how they are doing, what has helped, what hasn't. Obviously each account will be a mish-mash of thoughts and ideas but we can use that info to perhaps spot patterns. To be able to identify problems quicker and accurately would be a huge start. Perhaps certain illnesses will show different symptoms.
In the wild it is not uncommon to find a animal that has a medicine plant, one or a number that they eat when they are not well. Perhaps we can find some, or good alternatives.
One of the hardest things is getting them to eat. If we can find an absolutely irresistable food or some way of feeding them or applying a treatment that would help.
It has been suggested to me that a snails body is absorbent, that stands to reason because I know their weight is closely related to humidity. So there may be a way of feeding a treatment by spraying the body.
There are millions of plants out that are basically chemical factories. Many have been described medicinally for hundreds of years. Some of them may well do the trick. Anti-viral, immune-boosting, nutrition, even diuretic ones. We need to try things out.
I can't help thinking what a shame it would be if the snails died and nothing came of it. It'll be totally hit and miss for ages with misleading results but over time "facts" will emerge. We can do the leg-work and let the truth attend to itself, as it always does.
hmm spraying snails to feed them sounds an interesting method of feeding.
some thoughts on that.. for a snail to be feed though the skin the food molecule would have to be sufficently small to pass through the mucus membrane. then there is the problem of osmosis. while a liquid high in food molecules eg glucose could be used, there is the problem that whilst glucose molecules would enter the snail, water with in the snail would move outside the body, in the same way that it moves out side the body when salt is applied. I suppose there a two problems with salt. 1. the water moves outside the snails causing dehydation 2. salt moves into the body causing water to directly move for the body cells, resulting in destruction on a cellular level.
if a food spray were to be invented the food concentration would have to be sufficently low to prevent such disasterous effects to the snail and lets face these would have to be basic food molecules as no about of liquidised cabbage is gonna pass into the snail's body as they molecules are simply too big!
On the suggestion of medicine food.. this sounds safer.. but, since we do not live in the snail's habitat it would be very hard to find out what snails use in these situations
I also think that space is a issue. thou snails physically dont require much space, hygeine wise the bigger the better i guess, as this would cause a large increase in the toxins and parasites that snails would naturally move away from in the wild. It might be wise to completely replace the bedding if a sick snail is found.
maybe im talking rubbish, but just my thoughts on the matter
I think you made some very good points, but how about a plant extract. I mean you could use water but a proper solvent would be best. Soak the material and then boil the alcohol off. Then leave standing for the rest to evaporate. If you could get a fully non-alcoholic extract or one done in a snail-friendly solvent (if there is such a thing) then the active ingredients would be contained within the liquid and may penetrate the skin.
now that sounds an idea.. especially if a snail is unwilling to eat food. I wonder how you would go about finding the the kind of plants extracts that might be useful for sick snails. Could any of those traditionally used in human medicine be utilised? Being that the animal looked at is a snail it would seem unlikely that anyone has put great research into snail medicine, or even looked at the types of natural medicines they might use in the wild. I suppose if u had a snail that was not eating it would be worth trying unproven methods as a snail which is not feeding is inevitably going to perish in the long run. Im wondering what could be used as a solvent supposed to water or alcoholic base. I am assuming an oil base would not be absorbant, thou as I dont hold a degree in bio-chemistry I would not know. I would imagine we are either looking at a water, oil or alcohol form base. and dont know how a snail would respond to either of the latter. Do snail farms have any info on health care of snails? I just wonder this as if a large number of snails became sick they might have complete disaster. Maybe u could contact a snail farm and find out how they deal with disease.
I tried contacting snail farms before and they are not keen on giving away anything. But, when you consider what a snail is worth to a farm, I bet they just kill unhealthy ones.
I can't see why some substances wouldn't have medicinal effects on them, I mean they obviously metabolise nutrients in some way. Like you said, whether ones known for human effects would is anyone's guess. But there are a lot and I reckon they could be tried harmlessly.
If ur snail is sick and likely to die anyway, it would seem reasonable to try a treatment. I know certain substances like tea tree oil have proven very useful for humans both as an antiseptic and to deter parasites. I wonder if that could be used for snails. again we have to consider the pourous nature of the snail's skin.
Post by thegreatloofa on Jul 25, 2005 14:39:19 GMT
I've just found a mite on one of the C.Nemoralis from my classifieds ad. Its not the type that quickly run around your snail and hide in the breathing hole, but another kind, with a larger abdomen and slower. They seem to eat snail poo and wet foods (like cucumber and grape). They also seem to be eaten by snails, either live or in egg form as they are on, er, piles or poo that I wouldn't think they'd be able to get to otherwise. Also they seem to have survived the soil they live in being microwaved. The only way they could have done this is to have hide in the snails (everything else was either washed throughly or replaced). They are very small but here is the best pic I could get of it: It was on its back in this pic as I could see its legs waving about. Its about 0.5mm long and about half as wide. These mites are in both my GAL tank and my native tank which leads me to believe that they came in the soil.
Have these been seen before? Will they harm my snails? How can I get rid of them?
Yep, those are the ones that are always on my snail poo - GALS and Aspersa! I know exactly what you are saying - only this morning i cleaned out the aspersa and thought 'where the bloody hell do these little blighters come from!!'
Emma described having these in a thread somewhere too.
I am 99% sure that this is the same pest that i have in my tanks. they are nasty little buggers and they multiple really quickly. I am pretty much certain that they come out of the snails and the injested to continue the cycle. Im suggesting that they complete the larval stage inside the digestive system of the snail, which is probably why they are detrimental to the snail. I think they are pretty much impossible to be ridded of unless something is found we can saftly give our snails to kill them. I dont think changing the peat will work as I imagine that they have very short life cycles. The only thing that changing the peat seems to do is slightly reduce the population. They do seem to have quite nasty effects on smaller snails, and stunt their growth considerably I have also found that they dont affect margies much (the snails that i recieved them from) but they seem to have a marked effect on the growth and general health of fulica. I am wondering if margies have a greater resistance against these pests, as my margies have continued to grow steadily and seem quite healthy.
That could well be true, it does seem plausible that some snails have evolved more resistance. At the moment the only thing to try is pumpkin seeds although that was intended for worms. If the bugs are still alive once out of the snail, which they seem to be, I'd suggest trying a few things like garlic, vinegar, beer - anything you think may be safe. Also, and this sounds weird, but try smoke. If that worked, you could quickly smoke a tank everyday (with the snails removed obviously) and if it worked, it may help to break the cycle a little. Perhaps even strong, close proximity UV light may kill them. This all depends on what you have available to you. But if say, vinegar/garlic actually worked, you could lightly spray the substrate to kill any eggs on the surface. It may be worth feeding something laxative, it may just expell a lot more in one go. Then, there is fasting, the snail would probably last longer than an animal that lives only a few days, but that depends on what they eat, snail or snail faeces. In this case, it may work.
Lastly, there may be an insect/bug out there that would love to eat these things. It could be that a few harvestmen spiders could keep your tank stripped bare of any that come out. It isn't gonna break the cycle but every little helps.
I wonder if the hypoaspis mites could tackle these things. I'd send you some if I could guarantee they were hyposaspis. I still have a few mites but they are never on the snails and are bigger and slower. I assume they are the remaining hyposaspis, because they do seem to have a red tint, when you put them on white paper. The other mites haven't returned. But I can't be certain so I'd be reluctant to send you some without knowing.
I made a fatal mistake last time, by mixing the soil up, the Hypoaspis will be killed if they get buried by more than an inch or so of soil, so I killed off my tub of definites. But I'm convinced they really did the job with the other mites, I need to ask Christabel how she got on in the end.
The problem is, they're not cheap. I think keeping them alive is tricky, they need food so you'd have to regularly bring soil from outside in and with that you introduce other pests they don't eat. I do think if you're having a real problem, then clubbing together with others to get them as a one-off is a good idea, it worked for me. But wouldn't it be amazing if you could get storable sachets of eggs or something, so you could sprinkle some in whenever you needed. That's something I intend to ask the company who supplied them about. I've got the manufacturers details now from the tub.
I'm thinking of getting hold of a cheap microscope, one that I can take photographs through. Then we have a chance of finding out what's what. I wish I still had the scanner, I need to borrow one and see if it is possible to take a good enough scan of small mite or whatever. I think it may produce reasonable results, if not microscopic.
Paul, so you put thim in the tank (obviously) and they start eating the nasty mites, yeah?? Can you see the predatory mites, i mean are they big enough to be seen, do they breed in the tank? What happens when you change the substrate? Shame to throw them away??
That is right, apparently they only survive a few days in the container they come, which was rubbish, they lasted weeks. You put them in your tank and they do the business. They are tiny but you can see them. But even a few 1000 can get lost in the tank. I bought 10000 (minimum you could get) and split them with Christabel.
They do live and reproduce in the soil as long as there is a food supply. Which means you can't sterilise the soil and you have to be carefully about stirring it up to freshen it too much, coz they can die if buried. But you start seeing results after a week. I have yet to observe one eating a snail mite, if I ever got them again, I'd photograph them and also try and put one mite against a snail mite. But that is a painstaking task.
I did observe them running all over the snails, including in the breathing hole so they should pick off anything that is hiding in and on the snail. So they could well be successful against the dangerous type.
Post by thegreatloofa on Sept 12, 2005 11:33:35 GMT
Argh! I can't seem to beat these big mites! They've gotten into my Devonshire snails tub, my Dimidiata tub and my big tank! The snails that go into my big tank are quarantined first and the dimidiata and devonshire snails didn't have them to start with. The fast, smaller mites aren't spreading (my natives have them) at all, so why are the bigger slow ones getting everywhere? I'm at my wits end with them, should I stop using soil (which they thrive in) and switch to something else?