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There is a ton of uncertainty when it comes to new pets, especially snails

If you aren’t experienced, it can be challenging to ascertain whether your pet snail is alive or has passed away. And no matter how hard they try to keep up with their habits, there are some things you can only learn with experience. 

That’s why we are here with a short guide. This helps you understand the reasons behind the sudden stillness of your pet snail and the best possible ways to deal with a dead mystery snail.

How To Tell If Your Mystery Snail Is Dead?

how to tell if a mystery snail is dead

The Smell Test

One of the best ways would be to smell the snail. Usually, dead snails tend to leave an odor (ammonia) which is a sure-shot way of telling if the snail is alive or dead. While it may smell okay at first, the smell gets stronger as they start to decompose. 

Does The Mystery Snail Retract?

Another way of checking will be to see if the snail retracts from being touched. If a snail is alive, it will keep moving around. However, if you feel like your pet mystery snail is out of its shell and motionless, giving the shell a little tap. 

If the snail does not retract, then it is probably dead. There is also a chance it could be a bit braver than the rest; in this case, touch the stomach of the snail. This will force a reaction out of the snail if it is still alive. 

Does The Trapdoor Stay Shut?

The trap door method is only for bigger snails like gold mystery snails or other apple snails. You need to tug on the trapdoor of the snail, and if it opens without resistance, it means the snail is dead.

Does It Respond To Your Touch?

Like the retraction method, you can also just touch the snail to observe any reaction. As mentioned above, a snail’s stomach is quite sensitive to touch, so touching it there should provoke a response. If there is no response, then the snail has died. 

Does It Stick In Your Aquarium?

If you see your pet mystery snail stuck on the wall of the aquarium, it means it’s alive. This does not mean that floating is a sign of death. Usually, snails float to get used to the water current and travel effortlessly. So you have nothing to worry about if your snail is stuck in the aquarium. 

Is My Mystery Snail Dead Or Just Sleeping?

One of the issues that people come across is not being able to distinguish between a sleeping snail and a dead snail. Most of the time, a resting snail can be mistaken for being dead, which is why it is essential to know more about the sleeping patterns of mystery snails. 

How Do Mystery Snails Sleep?

Interestingly mystery snails can sleep for hours on end and sometimes, even for days. Moreover, they tend to sleep during the day and remain awake at night. So you might want to check up on your snail at night.

How Long Do Mystery Snails Sleep?

As mentioned earlier, a snail’s sleeping schedule can range from a few hours to a few days. Mystery snails can sleep for two to three days after eating. It is also possible that they will sleep multiple times for smaller periods before being active for a longer time.

Still Not Sure If Your Mystery Snail Is Dead?

Water Parameters Test

If you aren’t sure if your mystery snail is dead or alive by looking at it, checking the water might be a better idea. Most of the time, snails tend to react to changes in the pH and ammonia levels of the water. 

Additionally, a buildup of nitrate in the water can also harm the snails. So, make sure these parameters are checked and kept under control for them to thrive.

Move The Mystery Snail To A New Environment

Snails tend to be curious creatures and like to explore the environment around them. If your mystery snail is not coming out of its shell, put it in a new environment with the right kind of water. If it is alive, then it will come out to explore the water at some point. 

Turn The Lights Out

As stated, snails like to be active during the night and sleep during the day. So, you can try turning the lights off of the room they are in. However, the effect wouldn’t be immediate, which is why it’s best to make a mental note of snails’ location before turning the lights off. If you see a change in their location in the morning, it is obvious that they are alive.

Strengthen Its Shell With Calcium

To ensure your mystery snail lives a long, healthy life, you can help strengthen its shell by providing calcium. This can be done by adding cuttlebone to the water or feeding some snail jello to the mystery snails. Additionally, you can add some goldfish vacation feeder blocks for a consistent supply.

If you intend on adding cuttlebone to the water, make sure to boil it for a short time. This is mainly so that it effectively sinks to the bottom of the aquarium. If boiled too much, it will float for many weeks, which is not what you’d want. 

How to Dispose of a Dead Mystery Snail?

If you have confirmed that your snail is dead, the best thing would be to dispose of it properly. Dead snails can smell bad, so throwing them in the garbage immediately is not recommended. 

The best way would be to place it inside a ziplock bag and freeze it. Once frozen, the snail will not smell as bad and then can be disposed of in the garbage bin.

Final Thoughts 

Dealing with the death of a pet, no matter how small, can be challenging to deal with. However, it is essential to dispose of the remains of the pet in the most humane way possible. 

Also, make sure to incorporate certain practices to ensure your mystery snail lives longer. In this regard, checking the water parameters, adding calcium to the water, and incorporating a sound filtration system in the aquarium can make for a healthy environment. 

On that note, we shall sign off. See you soon with more such content.

Until next time!

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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