Saturday, November 10, 2007

Snail advice from the malacologist

I decided to ask a true snail expert what he thought about my snail's chances for survival. Aydin Örstan is a malacologist, a scientist who specializes is mollusks. He also has a blog. Here's what he had to say about my snail:

1. Do snails feel pain? Do insects feel pain? I don’t know. Even if they did when their soft tissues were injured, I don’t think a snail would feel pain when its shell was broken, because the shell isn’t live tissue & the exposed soft tissue is probably OK.

2. There might be some risk of [the snail getting an] infection, but I think the snail can handle that. Make sure the container doesn’t get infected with mites or nematodes.

3. Yes, the snail can & will probably generate its shell. Give it lots of calcium carbonate.

4. You could use bits of shell to cover the exposed parts & the snail may incorporate them into its shell eventually. You can’t glue them onto the soft tissue, however; you would have to glue them to the remaining shell. Make sure the glue is not toxic.

They like to eat lettuce. You can sprinkle powderized limestone on lettuce leaves.

Well, this is definitely more optomistic than I would have guessed. So I guess that means I should give the little feller a name. Of course, the obvious choices would be something like Lucky or Chance, but too many rescued animals have those names already. I've been thinking about a name that points out and pokes fun (in a light-hearted way, of course) at his shell-shattering mishap.

Cap'n Crunch, perhaps?
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