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From time to time you may experience problems with your snails. Very little is known about what these illnesses are, what causes them, and even less is known about treatments. Unfortunately it seems more time is spent on increasingly more ingenious ways to kill them.

Because of this, the following information is a mix of whatever research is possible and available, theory and hypothesis, logical thinking and the result of various discussions with a large group of snail owners. It is with the help of the community at large, that these problems can at least be documented. Where possible I have tried to link to example incidents.

Hopefully, we can find some effective solutions to the majority of these problems but for now I'm afraid you'll have to be content with various suggestions and discussion.

Rescuing Snails that have been stepped on

No doubt if you are reading this page you have either accidently stepped on a snail or have found one that has been partly crushed or cracked but not killed. Snails are very resilient creatures and can recover from some pretty bad breaks but it is hard to know which will survive and which won't.

If the shell is cracked or chipped or there is a hole, but the overall integrity of the shell is reasonable, the snail will probably recover. If the shell has split into pieces but still covers the body it may even survive that. Minor body damage can be healed also.

However, snails that look really mangled such as the body has been crushed badly or the internal organs are sticking out of gaping cracks in the shell etc., I euthanase them by stamping on them. It sounds horrible but it is far better than taking hours to dry out and die from dessication and in my experience, snails that have been horribly mangled don't survive.

If you are leaving them outside, find a place where they can hide and won't dry out, so they're not an easy target, especially since movement will be painful. They'll hide and draw on their store of calcium and time will tell.

If you wish to keep the injured snails read over the comprehensive care guide which will explain its long-term needs. On the other hand if you simply wish to keep the snail until it recovers do the following:

I usually spray the snail gently with water (tepid) to properly see what damage has occured. I then remove any bits of shell that have broken free and are sticking out. Very carefully clean the snail and the damaged areas under a very gently flowing tap (tepid) or by using a spray bottle. Pop the snail in a tupperware tub without soil but with something to hide under, leaves, moss etc. Punch some holes in the lid, but not so many that it isn't humid. We're aiming for what may otherwise be considered excessive humidity because we don't want the exposed parts to dry out. You can supply milk powder or cuttlefish for extra calcium but they probably won't touch it for a few days. You will see a papery covering form which will harden and hopefully start to repair. You can feed most fruit and vegetables but don't expect them to eat it until the repair has begun. You can chart their progress by how much they eat. When a snail is injured or unwell they tend not to eat, so if they are begining to eat more and more the chances for their recovery are very good. This is the method I use and then usually 7-14 days later, when I am happy they are happy I release them.