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Thread: Landsnails, anyone have access ?

  1. #11
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    Animals in the wild are mostly opportunistic, and don't have the luxury of being able to discriminate between food options albeit on some occassions dury seasons where the bounty is plentiful.

    I think trying to take a piece of Madagascar for instance and duplicate it in your home for your animals could pose a lot of problems, and I've only heard people trying to do this with environments in their enclosure for the most part.

    I don't think the particulars of a diet are as important as the constants, and universals. If the chameleons are eating snails for calcium reasons, supposing they are, then there are better, easier ways to supplement them with those requirements. Same with my red tail hawk. I'm not going to give him rattlesnakes to eat because they sometimes kill and consume them in the wild.

    If you have successful chameleons consider yourself as doing very well already. Adding something like this in makes little or no sense, and I think you are asking for trouble here. Do you know why they eat snails in the wild? Do you know what species of snail they eat? What do the species of snails eat in the wild? Is there some reason why the chameleons eat the snails? For instance because of a particular plant species that the snails eat that provides certain special nutrients?

  2. #12
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    First off, my chameleons are from Kenya, not Madagascar.

    There are not a lot of options in captivity for animals that must eat live feeders, certainly nothing like the variety that they would expect in nature. Not only that, but the feeders that ARE available, would likely never be encountered by these creatures in their native range.

    Some herps seem to require less variety than others. Some herps will accept supplementation more easily than others. Jackson's tend to get bored with the same food item fairly easily. I have had reasonable success with them, but I believe that I could do better. This summer I am making a number of improvements, including better coverage, more space, lower nighttime temperatures, more natural sunlight. They probably also need better nutrition, which would be best served, I think, by more variety. I am specifically concerned about Calcium, as my females is gravid. I am going to try and give them pinkies next week. From dialogue with other successful keepers of these animals, I have come to consider snails as well.

    As you say, the chameleons are largely opportunistic. They probably eat snails, because they are relatively easy to catch, and can fit into their mouths. Maybe they also taste good. Come to think of it, they probably do taste good - snails are one of the few foods that they eat, that we eat also. One thing seems clear, the calcium in the snails is nutritionally available to the chams.

    If I could feed them a commercially prepared dry diet, I certainly would. Maybe one day I will be able to train them to take such a diet. I would rest easier about their nutrition.

    Until then, I try to give them as much variety as possible, so that they have the best chance of getting any trace nutrient that they might require.

    Chameleons are advanced. I have lost a few. I get better. I have strong evidence to believe that snails may be a valid part of a comprehensive program of improvements that I am making, with the goal of keeping and breeding healthier animals, longer.

    Other keepers, whom I would consider more experienced than myself feed their chams snails. Why do you suspect that there is undue risk in the introduction of snails?

    Incidentally, besides calcium, snails in their native environment seem to be a source of carotenoids. Indeed, it is my intention to feed the snails diets rich in carotenoids.

    And finally, there is something to be said just for keeping the snails for themselves. I have also kept mantids and stick insects, for example.

    Chameleons are different. Jackson's chameleons are different. They eat snails, and benefit from them in captivity.

  3. #13
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    Very well put HernandosMom.
    Rich is not how much you have, or where you are going, or what you are.Rich is who you have beside you.

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  4. #14
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    One of the main concerns with using snails or slugs for prey items is they are typically intermediate hosts for endoparasites. Hence, wild collected ones are frowned upon for use as food. Also, because of their highly permeable skin and eating habits, they frequently have elevated levels of toxins such as organochlorides.

    This being said, most are quite easy to raise and cultivate for use as food items. I've done so with a number of species, and as long as you raise them from eggs in proper quarantine measures, you should have no fears of parasites or toxins. The main things are keeping them cool, damp and clean. Most snail/slug eggs do well in dechlorinated water, half submerged, 10-17C. When hatched, transfer to small containers with clean substrate (I use large "test-tube" vials topped with bedding foam). Carrots appear to be the best food source for them, supplemented with cuttlebone for calcium. When they get larger, I transfer to a tupperware container for housing more together for breeding. The substrate I use is a mixture of about 3 parts silica sand, 3 parts peat or coir, 1 part black loam, and this should be kept damp at all times, changed out weekly.

  5. #15
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    Thank you Tupinambis. That is approximately what I was suggesting (or what I WOULD have been suggesting, with your knowledge and experience in this subject). But I need the 'starter' snails.

  6. #16
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    Hey tupinambis, that is great information as usual.

    This topic came up about 6 months ago on this site, and another member had done some research on suppliers:

    [quote]
    sruli, I am not completely averse to sending you some of Satan's li'l helpers from my garden, providing you someday share some of your clean-bred snails with my sheltopusik. I don't know their genus. They are non-native French imports that out-competed our local, beautiful endemics, I think in the late 19th century. They are relatively thin-shelled and the shells are roundish and brown.

    Don't hate me, but I can't collect any for awhile. I've been getting home from work after dark and am leaving for some serious travel this weekend, returning late April.

    Meanwhile, if you will look into shipping details (what overnight company will accept them, how to pack so they live) and check with Fish & Game authorities in California and NY, pm me and we can exchange info.

    And thank you, Angelrose, for splitting the topic so I can find it later.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sruli
    First off, my chameleons are from Kenya, not Madagascar.
    I didn't say they were from Madagascar.

    There are not a lot of options in captivity for animals that must eat live feeders, certainly nothing like the variety that they would expect in nature. Not only that, but the feeders that ARE available, would likely never be encountered by these creatures in their native range.
    Most assuredly. I doubt the tegus here would be eating for the most part white mice, and rats in Argentina, or even blackberries, or strawberries.
    Some herps seem to require less variety than others. Some herps will accept supplementation more easily than others. Jackson's tend to get bored with the same food item fairly easily. I have had reasonable success with them, but I believe that I could do better. This summer I am making a number of improvements, including better coverage, more space, lower nighttime temperatures, more natural sunlight. They probably also need better nutrition, which would be best served, I think, by more variety. I am specifically concerned about Calcium, as my females is gravid. I am going to try and give them pinkies next week. From dialogue with other successful keepers of these animals, I have come to consider snails as well.
    Then there has to be a trick to it. I wonder why snails? I've never heard of anyone with a chameleon, breeders or otherwise that have used them. Do you think it is just because the chameleons are really "bored"?

    As you say, the chameleons are largely opportunistic. They probably eat snails, because they are relatively easy to catch, and can fit into their mouths. Maybe they also taste good. Come to think of it, they probably do taste good - snails are one of the few foods that they eat, that we eat also. One thing seems clear, the calcium in the snails is nutritionally available to the chams.
    True. Anyone that has had es cargo will attest to it tasting good, but mostly because it has butter and garlic on it in a lot of cases. Of course be wary when you buy it as they sell it already packed in butter and garlic. Something I'm sure you don't want your animals eating.
    If I could feed them a commercially prepared dry diet, I certainly would. Maybe one day I will be able to train them to take such a diet. I would rest easier about their nutrition.



    Until then, I try to give them as much variety as possible, so that they have the best chance of getting any trace nutrient that they might require.
    Trace elements are important of course. However isn't it possible to gutload cricket and roaches to achieve the same result? I have in the past.
    Chameleons are advanced. I have lost a few. I get better. I have strong evidence to believe that snails may be a valid part of a comprehensive program of improvements that I am making, with the goal of keeping and breeding healthier animals, longer.
    I know it. Chameleons are difficult. I had a pair of veileds a while ago. I did so-so. Not great. The air movement, coupled with usually high humidity, and great light, as well as cleanliness, low stress, and somewhat picky eaters makes them very difficult to look after correctly. I hear ya there.
    Other keepers, whom I would consider more experienced than myself feed their chams snails. Why do you suspect that there is undue risk in the introduction of snails?
    My wife has been caring for reptiles and invertebrates for 20 years. Myself about 15. I mentioned this to her yesterday, and she instantly said "What?" and then went from there. I would feed them snails, but I would find out why, and what the snails offer, and if it is really helping my chameleons. Consequently there is snails sold in a can, without the shell by Zoomed I think. I feed my blue tongued skink, and the tegus on occassion those.
    Incidentally, besides calcium, snails in their native environment seem to be a source of carotenoids. Indeed, it is my intention to feed the snails diets rich in carotenoids.
    So you are going to keep a culture of them. Maybe there is a soft shelled snail available.
    And finally, there is something to be said just for keeping the snails for themselves. I have also kept mantids and stick insects, for example.

    Chameleons are different. Jackson's chameleons are different. They eat snails, and benefit from them in captivity.
    Well it doesn't sound like any amount of caution I offer is going to stop you. Again, lots of animals eat, and do things that we wouldn't want them to do in captivity. Your chameleons are no different in that regard. Are the snails small enough to be eaten whole? If so, you might have something there. If not, I'd be worried about the shell. Sounds like your doing wonderful though with your animals. Chameleons are illegal to keep without a permit here, as are monitors, and a few non-venomous snake species. So I don't keep them.

  8. #18
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    HernandosMom:

    I will take you up on your offer when you get back. From what I understand about snails, overnight shipping is not necessary, especially in the warmer months.

    I also will be happy to share snails from the culture. As I understand it, they are rather prolific.

    New York has no restrictions that I could find on shipping live snails in. CA does have restrictions on shipping live snails INTO the state, but doesn't seem to care if you are exporting them.

    The shipping of the snails seems to be a rather mundane affair. I have checked with a couple of people on the chameleon forums who have shipped snails in the past. Basically, they are ok, in just about any container, so they don't get crushed, for a few days. They might go into a dormant state, but they come out of it quickly enough. As long as they can be received in about a week.

    Thank you so much.




    [quote="HernandosMom"]Hey tupinambis, that is great information as usual.

    This topic came up about 6 months ago on this site, and another member had done some research on suppliers:

    sruli, I am not completely averse to sending you some of Satan's li'l helpers from my garden, providing you someday share some of your clean-bred snails with my sheltopusik. I don't know their genus. They are non-native French imports that out-competed our local, beautiful endemics, I think in the late 19th century. They are relatively thin-shelled and the shells are roundish and brown.

    Don't hate me, but I can't collect any for awhile. I've been getting home from work after dark and am leaving for some serious travel this weekend, returning late April.

    Meanwhile, if you will look into shipping details (what overnight company will accept them, how to pack so they live) and check with Fish & Game authorities in California and NY, pm me and we can exchange info.

    And thank you, Angelrose, for splitting the topic so I can find it later.

  9. #19
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    pokeystotle:

    Madagascar: I extrapolated from your generalization; a minor point. Sorry.

    ( think trying to take a piece of Madagascar for instance and duplicate it in your home for your animals could pose a lot of problems, and I've only heard people trying to do this with environments in their enclosure for the most part. )

    Yeah, many chameleons do get 'bored' with one specific type of feeder after a while. Jackson's are the most prone. I had a pair a while ago, that would not feed on the same thing for longer than a week. In the wild they may feed on over 100 varieties of 'bugs'. And unlike some other species, Jackson's do not eat any plants at all. In the summer I do my best to give my chameleons "field plankton". And I am always looking for feeders that are nutritious and easy to keep on hand. Snails seem to be relatively simple to breed, they don't smell or make noise. They are even pretty. They are unlikely to escape the enclosure. As a source of calcium they would be hard to beat. I have seen videos of Jackson's eating snails in captivity. You can tell that they like them. Go to the chameleon forums and search 'snails'.

    *smile* The chameleons will not eat anything DEAD. So a snail in butter in garlic is pretty much out of the qustion. Actually, if anything could get them to eat a dead snail, it might be the garlic - the chams do seem to appreciate it. A couple of suppliers make a garlic spray that is pure garlic extract, for reptiles in general, but it seem that it is specifically geared for chameleons. I use it sometimes, when they are unsure about a new feeder. They really perk up when they get a whiff. And it is good for them, too, having antiseptic properties. Veiled chameleons are commonly found on garlic farms in Yemen. I am considering planting garlic in the enclosure, to help ward off respiratory infections. My main concern is the odour.

    A feeder dipped in butter might be too slippery for my cham's tongue to get purchase on. *smile*

    I DO, of course, have the crickets gutloaded. In fact, I get crickets from three different local suppliers, who use different diets for their crickets. I still think that it is better to have variety in insects.

    Yes, the snails should be small enough to be eaten whole. Chameleons do have pretty big mouths, however. Chameleons are a rather different 'philosophy' than tegus. They need live food, in the enclosure, minimal handling. And, variety in diet is always a good thing. (Except for a few noted species of insects and other small things, that they should stay away from.) Last year I actually bred green houseflies for them a couple of times, which they were VERY happy about. (But don't tell anybody.)

  10. #20
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    Actually there is a product called garlic extreme or some such thing that is used as an appetite stimulant to get marine fish like the copperband butterfly, a notoriously picky eater, to eat.

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