Oreo and Odessa's Favorite Pet Snail Stories:

Story #4
January 24, 2005

Life and Death
as told by Odessa

Helix aspersa (Müller, 1774)


Dear Oreo,

Hi my friend, I imagine you are still sleeping. So are my buddies Demeter, Peanut , Damien and Adonia. I woke up today and saw that Nestor, Agalia and Carrisa were all awake eating lettuce. It was fun to see everyone. I sure hope that winter ends soon as I'm bored with all these long naps we're taking. Oreo, I understand that you sleep for 10 to 14 days at a time. Boy, you must be hungry and thirsty when you wake up.


I have some sad news to share with you today; Hannah one of our Hermit Crab house guests died yesterday.

Hannah and her brother Hector were the two land hermit crabs that Mom rescued from a pet department a few days ago.

Hannah and Hector were sitting in small cups filled with stinking water and rotting food. There was actually mold floating on the surface of the water. Their cups just smelled awful.

Mom found two pathetic looking crabs in these filthy cups. They are hermit crabs (live near water but not in it) and yet here they were half submerged in water with no dry spot for them to even crawl about on.

Well, Mom slapped down the money for these two sickly hermit crabs then rushed them home. After a quick bath to clean the nasty crud off them, she lovingly placed them into our terrarium.There they had a virtual banquet of food and lots of fresh water and clean ground for them to enjoy. We all hoped that they would live; but sadly, Hannah died last night. At least she had a couple of happy days when she had all the food and warmth that she so badly needed. I guess she was just too sick as even Mom's love could not rescue her. We felt awfully bad.

Mom had a long talk with us about Hannah's dying. At least Hannah had the comfort of dying in a warm, dry terrarium filled with eveything a hermit crab could need or want. She wasn't still struggling to stay above water in a that aweful cup full of rotten food and water. Even though she was only with us for a few days, we will miss her, but we take comfort knowing she is at peace now.

I and my human Mom often wonder why deallers are allowed to sell snails and other small pets (like hermit crabs and such)? They have no idea how to keep these small precious critters alive and healthy. I guess it all has something to do with that thing called money that Man seems to hold so dear to them.

Stores and unscrupulous people are also selling nonnative animals in some countries. Do they not realize (or they just do not care) the damage these pets can cause if they were ever released into a foreign environment? We wish there was more and stricter laws to protect these poor critters from irresponsible buyers and sellers. In some countries there are laws but no one seems to have the time nor the finances it takes to enforce them. That is why my friend Oreo and I are trying to help by writing this article.


Hector has changed his seashell shell! We hardly knew who he was. This time he picked a nice green shell. He has been eating cuttlebone again today. Lots of it! Mom took a knife and scraped a bunch of cuttlebone off and he prefers that instead of the Calcium powder. He really needs it too as his legs are very skinny.We hope he is not as sick as Hannah. We will do our best for him . Oreo, irresponsible pet dealers do so much damage to pets like us.

Mom went through all the soil in our terrarium today. She does this once every week. She is spefically looking for any eggs that I or one or the other snails may have laid. We're not allowed to have any of our eggs hatch. Mom has enough snails to care for now. We know this and we have gotten used to this procedure. Its very important that we don't reproduce here in the United States because this is not our native country.

Mom puts all the old soil in a bag and burns it with the trash. If she was just to throw this soil into her yard, she could accidently throw out some missed eggs and she knows that she has to be very careful.

Mom puts us into a plastic tub when she cleans our home up


Mom also has pet apple snails (Canas) and she does the same thing with their egg clutches . Boy, do apple snails lay alot of egg clutches and they can do this several days in a row before taking a rest! One of Mom's Canas layed a clutch of eggs three days in a row and there are about 300 eggs in each clutch. Thats just one female Cana doing all that.

Right now Mom has six females all laying clutches of eggs. Just as soon as Mom see any eggs she takes them out of the aquarium but she also faithfully check their home every day. They will lay clutches even on the underside of the aquarium lid, behind the water filter and on the glass above the water.

Mom has enough apple snails to look after and enjoy. She only allows a few eggs to hatch when she wants more snails. Mom knows that it is illegal to export apple snails even across a state boundary and that is a definite NO NO to export or import Apple Snails. Mom did not know that when she got her first apple snails and she did give a few babies away to friends. Now she is helping educate people through this and other pages on Man and Mollusc web site so others do not make the same mistake.


These are the eggs clutches laid by three apple snails in one twenty-four hour period.

This is a closeup of one those egg masses.

Oreo I think that Canas could eat everything in sight if they were allowed to reproduce by irresponsible pet owners! Not only do they reproduce in masses, you should see what and how much they can eat!! Tonight mom split an entire head of lettuce in half and placed a half into their two aquariums.

Mom knew that by morning the lettuce would be gone. That head of lettuce weighed almost a pound! One aquarium houses ten adult Canas and they will gobble up a half a head of lettuce in one night. Plus they get many other things to eat as well. Mom calls them eating machines and they really are.

Oreo, can you imagine how long a head of lettuce would last us? Especially you Oreo. (Oreo eats about enough lettuce to cover a dime possibly twice a week. He of course has other foods as well but lettuce is his favorite unless dandelions are available). It's kind of scary to think what damage the apple snails (Canas) could do to our garden and local waterways if they ever got loose.

Speaking of gardens - We are looking forward to all the fresh vegetables, that will be planted this summer in our human's garden.

Even though Canas have to live in water, they do come out of the water to eat any nearby foliage. A garden like ours could be destroyed totally in a few days.

Canas are really nice snails just like us; but just like us, they could become a real pest in the wrong environment. All over the world apple snails are eating peoples rice and other crops raised in or near water. Rice has to grow in water so this becomes a favorite and easy to get to food source for them.. They are literally destroying peoples rice fields. People need the rice to survive.

So Oreo, you can see that Mom by destroying the unwanted egg clutches is a good thing. We being smart snails understand this.

I know I have we talked about some of the same issues on Barney's page, but this is such an important subject that I thought we should add in a few more facts.

When people get their first applesnails (AKA: Canas, mystery snail), they get very excited when the applesnail lays it's first egg clutches. The egg clutches are very easy to hatch and it is fun and exciting to watch the babies hatch. Some people will make sure every clutch laid is hatched. Next thing they know, they have an aquarium with 400 or more applesnail babies in it.

Now these humans get panicky and start to wonder what to do with all these babies. The uneducated and/or irresponsible pet owners think that they are doing a good thing for their unwanted pets and they take them to the nearest body of water and let them go! "BE FREE". They never stop to think of the impact this will have on the environment.

Oreo I know for a fact that this happens a lot. The pet owner sets free all those baby canas in ponds or rivers. These baby canas quickly grow into adults that eat so much, they may even disrupt the food chain in that ecosystem. Canas have such voracious appetites that they could actually eat all the vegetation in that ecosystem. When this happens, any other creatures that rely on that foliage for their food supply as well could starve to death! It's as simple as that. Oreo, you and I have to help educate present and future snail pet owners so that this cycle is stopped.


Eggs of Golden Apple Snail

Eggs are layed above water and hatchlings drop down. The pink coloration indicates to predators that they are distasteful.... Meta

Seeing clutches of these pink eggs might be the first visual indication that apple snails are living in that location


Well Oreo, I don't know about you, but, I am exhausted from preparing this page so I think I'll stop by the food table and then tuck off for a few days sleep. Its very cold here where my humans live and apparently we have lots of snow. We've never seen snow personally but Mom says it's cold white stuff. It mustn't be a good thing as our humans sure are complaining about it. Apparently snow makes their noses red and their backs sore - Dad has to shovel this funny white stuff. Heh hee

Much Love to you,



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