Jump to content

Euthanasia of aquatic snails


Chick-In-Of-TheSea
 Share

Recommended Posts

If you are a snail lover, you may want to click away. If you keep snails, you may want to read this. 

My mystery snail has been noticeably sick. It has not been able or willing to release air, and it has not eaten or moved in about 4 days. I have situated it on top of leaves from overgrown plants that are so tall they lay on the water’s surface. Every day I’ve been checking on it and trying to hand feed, to no avail. Today I checked on it and it has lost 25% of body mass (I can see gaps around its body in the shell).  It is moving, barely. When I see a loss of body mass like this, I know the snail is at the end of its life. 

I have used clove oil in the past on snails, but the snails I knew were already dead - I was just going through extra precautionary measures. But this snail has “some” life in it, albeit very poor quality life.

I began to look up some information again on the use of clove oil for snails. I found conflicting information. Some claim it sedates the snail. Others claim it kills the snail.  Here is a paper I found on euthanasia of land snails.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5029829/

While it does not specifically mention clove oil, it does provide the results of several experiments. For one, beer. Beer was used to attempt euthanasia of snails, and snails gave no response afterward when poked with a needle. However, after a rinse in Ro water and being left alone, the snails began moving around after a period of time! “All snails recovered within 2 h and climbed out of the culture dish”
So, that’s one example of a failed experiment.

A successful experiment, well two of them, used ethanol 70% and ethanol 95%. The snails did not recover after being transferred out.

Hence, my little guy in the clove oil solution, while I researched further was floating, floating.. I left him there 1 hour. I ran out to buy the 70% ethanol - I got 70% Ethyl Rubbing Alcohol for this purpose. When I transferred my little friend from the clove oil solution, he was hanging out of the shell and had produced mucus. During his time in the clove oil, he defecated as well, not right away but at some point during that hour.

I returned from the store with the ethanol and placed him in a condiment cup then submerged him in the 70% ethanol. It was not until this stage that he released all the air he was holding, and he sank. Therefore, I am convinced that clove oil alone does NOT kill snails. It may look like it does, but I believe it is ONLY a sedative. I am going to use the 2 phased approach going forward to ensure completion.

This is unbelievably sad to write about my pet who I love so much; harder still to observe it and play God. It’s just awful. But I think it is necessary to post this to inform other hobbyists who may have a snail that is suffering. 

This raises questions for me as well such as clove oil being used to euthanize fish. Has anyone ever transferred their fish back to tank water and waited for a response after the clove oil process? And I wonder what would have happened.

  • Sad 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thisbis so sad to read! Fantastic that you care so much as to want to out it out of its myssery. ❤️

I think that I'd personally try with some of the medication used to fight snail infestations. But maybe I am missing something?

I am not sure if it's less painful, or if snails feel pain the same way as we do but in my head I'd expect that the faster it goes the better. 

I hope that you're OK after this dramatic experience. It's never fun to lose a pet and it's so much worse when it's up to us to make the decision! 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If clove oil only sedates perhaps upping it's dose high enough, after the animal is initially sedated, to cause function of living to fail would work?

Anaesthesia can work that way in people from my understanding.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting. I appreciate the intent, and effort. And I know it comes from a good place. 🙂

I thought clove oil for euthanasia is a 2 step process: First administer a dose that anesthetizes the subject(s), then when they are "knocked out", up the clove oil dose to lethal levels, or complete the euthanization another way. I've read the beer version, I think it recommended basically the same thing: use flat (de-gassed) beer to knock them out, then administer something like vodka which will prove fatal over a brief time. 

Personally, I use Zap, it's a copper solution. But that's for ramshorns and I don't know how it would work (how long it would take) for something as big as a mystery snail. I acknowledge that I don't know whether it's painful, or whether snails feel pain. They don't seem disturbed, or appear to change their behavior when I do it. 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Update to original post: after the 2 phased approach I rinsed the snail in tank water, then submerged him in a cup of tank water. I observed for 2 hours (this was DIFFICULT; I kept worrying I’d see movement or a feeler pop out, etc. every time I went to check). However, that did not occur and I was able to confirm the process was effective.

Edited by Chick-In-Of-TheSea
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...