Adventures in Snail Hydrotherapy

Chatter Snailkeeping

We've been here before.

Actually, scratch that, bit of a shit opener.

Assuming you're a normal, functional human being (i.e., not a snail keeper) you probably haven't been here before. And that's okay! Let me walk you through exactly what & where 'here' is.

Currently, at the time of writing, it's about 2am (and you need to be up at 6am, so good luck to you!) - your pet snail (Of the Giant African Land, Lissachatina Fulica variety) has been acting pretty funky recently - it's probably that your temperatures or your humidity is off (even though your other snail is completely fine) and this has resulted in retraction. It's fine, you have a quick panic, but now you gotta rescue your snail and bring 'em back to their usual, snaily selves.

Bringing us to here. And now.

Your boiler's broken (and though you did watch one Youtube video and could maaaaybe fix it yourself, your housemates have begged you not to break out your toolkit) so you're boiling the kettle, and setting up a shallow tupperware (designated for snail use only) - you dissolve a teaspoon of caster sugar into like 1cm of boiling water, and another 3cm of regular cold water to make your sugar bath - this is what you'll be popping your snail in.

Snail care seems to change almost every single day, when I first got Moonpie the recommended treatment for an unwell snail was green tea, which has since moved to bee pollen, and now sugar water - nothing is ever totally accepted in all circles, and honestly you gotta keep an open mind with it. If I were to take one of my snails to a vet, I'd honest to god get laughed out of there. The next closest thing I'd have is the guy at the reptile store, but even then, he probably wouldn't know much about them. At least with the green tea baths I was able to add the teabags to my guest tea collection (along with the honey and chamomile from when I got my nose pierced) so I can look put together when guests come over. 'Would you like a tea?' I say, before rattling off half a dozen fancy flavours. 'Why the hell do you have so many kinds of tea?' My guest will usually say, being that they too are a student that also does not have their life together.

Anyway, back to your snail - you pop him in the tupperware and within a few minutes, you see a goopy little head poking out before starting to sip on the sugar water - the idea behind all of these snail remedies is that they've somehow got themselves too exhausted to eat and regain energy, so without owner intervention, they'd just continue to be too exhausted and would eventually pass away. Sugar water, or caffienated green tea, or whatever else, gives them the little burst of energy that they need so they can go and get a proper meal to replenish their energy.

Bit like me after I spend the weekend in bed without eating and am so weakened by Monday morning that I have to crawl out of bed to the kitchen, inhale approx. 5 cream crackers, and lie on the sofa until I have the energy to make actual food (or I just eat more cream crackers).

I first got Moonpie (pictured above after his sugarwater bath, looking a bit perkier) in early 2021 - I was in student halls and incredibly lonely, and keeping anything furry would've just felt cruel. A frog would've been too noisy, and bugs like isopods or stick insects likely would've escaped - therefore a snail seemed like a perfect solution. Moonpie arrived to me in a cardboard box and was no bigger than my fingernail at first (or like, your fingernail. I have acrylics that skews our measurements a bit!) - he's obviously grown a fair bit since then, and has gone through 5 tanks in total as he grew up - he now lives in his biggest and most permanent tank with his brother (lover?) Marzipan, also a Lissachatina Fulica, but of a different morph (Marzipan is a Jadatzi, light body, light shell, whereas Moonpie is a jade, light body, dark shell) - honestly, I'm fairly impressed that I managed to make it through 1 1/2 years in student halls without them realising I had pet snails (and nothing they can do about it now!) but between the Westfield Court hamster and the rumoured guinea pig in C block, I doubt they really cared.

My snails got me through a really tough time, and very much continue to (i.e. you can't walk off into the sea now, who the hell's gonna feed the snails?) and I truly do love having them around. Maybe a frog would be in the cards one day, but for now, I have enough slime in my life.

What an awful, awful phrase to end on.

Lots of love from awenllais