Socrates, Dead or Alive?


Socrates last week on his driftwood tree.

For two days, my Mystery Snail, Socrates, has retreated into his shell.

A part of me worries that he is dead, but I also know that snails often hibernate, even in a fish tank.  They close the round door that blocks the opening in the shell where they emerge and don’t move for days, sometimes longer.

I’ve seen this happen before.  And I’ve also waited for a snail to reemerge only to find an empty shell days later.  This means the snail died and the fish, most likely, ate him.

This morning, on Socrates’ second day of being on retreat in his shell, Jon suggested he was dead and we should get him out of the tank before he starts to decay and pollute the tank.

It does make sense the remove a dead snail from a fish tank, but I’m not convinced that Socrates is dead.

We’ve had many different kinds of snail, for just about a year now.   I was captivated by them immediately.  I still have the shell of my first Socrates on the kitchen windowsill. From the beginning  I started reading about  snails online and educating myself about their life span (about one year for Mystery Snails), mating habits and their biology.

Also, I’ve been paying attention to them in our fish tank, witnessing their habits, how they move and what they eat.

Jon and I didn’t come to blows over whether or not to remove Socrates from the tank, but the argument was heated.   So I went back to my many online sources and found that the best way to know if a snail is dead and not hibernating, is by its smell.

Apparently it’s a dead give-away.

So I lifted Socrates from the tank and brought him right up to my nose.  No awful stink came from him, so he’ll stay in the tank for another day.  Tomorrow I’ll conduct the same sniff test and we’ll take it a day at a time.

I’m thinking of calling into  Jon’s Talking To Animals, radio show today at 1pm and bringing up the issue about when to remove the snail from the tank.  And maybe even the issue of who has gets to  make such decisions when you share a tank with someone.  It could be fun…..

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