Felt the Tongue!

deadhd5

Avid Member
A funny thing happened this morning when feeding my adult male Nosy Be Moe.

I placed a nice big cb snail on the vine in front of him, and like always, before the snail even popped his head out and started moving around, Moe was on him. He shot his tongue at the snail from about 6" away, but the snail must have been too slick, and it went flying across the cage from the tongue impact. This happened 2 more times.

I decided to put my finger behind the snail so it wouldn't go flying when Moe shot at it. Well, the snail didn't go flying, but his tongue hit the snail, slid off, and attached itself to my finger! I flinched a little, but thankfully did not overreact. He looked up at me with his tongue stuck to me and gave me a funny look and for a moment time stood still. His tongue felt sticky, but soft and surprisingly warm. I jiggled my finger a little and his tongue came free and he retracted it.

I was worried that it would be a bad memory for him and it would make him scared of me and hesitant to eat snails. Lucky, my worries were quickly allayed when I placed the snail on the vine for a 5th attempt. He just walked up to it and chomped it off the vine without using his tongue. I swear he looked up at me an smiled :) I think the incident actually made him trust me more, and I found out Moe is actually pretty smart (at least when it comes to getting his eat on)!

Here is a picture I snapped right afterwards :) He always keeps the snail in his mouth for a couple minutes and then I hear a loud crunch and he crushes the shell with one mighty bite :0)

NX1000
 

pigglett79

Avid Member
Wait a second, you mean he is eating the snail, shell and all??!! :eek:

Isnt that bad for him?? :confused:

Nope, the shell is fine for them and a good source of calcium. I can't wait for my snails to make some babies for my boys to eat. I only have wild caught snails right now. Its gonna be a while until I have captive babies for them to eat.
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
Wait a second, you mean he is eating the snail, shell and all??!! :eek:

Isnt that bad for him?? :confused:

Yup, they love snails and eat em up in the wild. There is always a big crunch when they take that first bite, they have no problem with it. The shell is a great source of calcium and the meaty snail a healthy source of protein. They also gutload very well.

All of my chams love (appropriately sized) snails, even my new little baby Jackson. They all instinctively recognized them as food as soon as I put them in the enclosure.

Breeding the snails is a lot of work, but they are pretty fun to raise. I have 18 adult garden snails (helix aspersa) and they produce 200-300 eggs every week :)
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
Nope, the shell is fine for them and a good source of calcium. I can't wait for my snails to make some babies for my boys to eat. I only have wild caught snails right now. Its gonna be a while until I have captive babies for them to eat.

Yeah, they grow slow thats for sure. The one I fed today was about 4 months old and the size of a regular sized marble. They are so easy to feed off and gutload, just a wonderful option. The only downside is I feel kind of bad feeding them off after raising them from eggs. The baby snails are really cute!
 

pigglett79

Avid Member
Yup, they love snails and eat em up in the wild. There is always a big crunch when they take that first bite, they have no problem with it. The shell is a great source of calcium and the meaty snail a healthy source of protein. They also gutload very well.

All of my chams love (appropriately sized) snails, even my new little baby Jackson. They all instinctively recognized them as food as soon as I put them in the enclosure.

Breeding the snails is a lot of work, but they are pretty fun to raise. I have 18 adult garden snails (helix aspersa) and they produce 200-300 eggs every week :)

I have some helix aspersa coming tomorrow, had to get a permit to order them. Are you able to identify the eggs easily? I want to try to collect the eggs and move them to a separate container to avoid possible infection from the wild caught parents,
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
I have some helix aspersa coming tomorrow, had to get a permit to order them. Are you able to identify the eggs easily? I want to try to collect the eggs and move them to a separate container to avoid possible infection from the wild caught parents,

That is exactly what I do. The eggs are very easy to identify. They burrow in the soil and lay the pearly white eggs in clumps of 50-100. They are the size of bb's. Actually, this species, the eggs are eaten as "snail caviar" in upscale French restaurants and are pretty valuable. They take 2 weeks to hatch, so I clean the tank and remove the eggs every weekend (then move them to the baby snail tank). I use two 10 gallon aquariums.
 

little leaf

Avid Member
Oliver once did that to me- but he was mad - lol acted like I did it- is that not the weirdest feeling- lol - there is like a cup on the end - he had the whole tip of my finger pad in the cup thing - but he also was able to let go, and no issues w/ his tongue - and like you said, it makes you jump a tad- lol I am so glad Sammy is getting snails - :D
 
Wow! :eek: He's so pretty! I def want to do snails in the near future.. I can imagine the crunching though! Lol! Eat with ur mouth closed! :p
 
Very curious about snail care! Somebody please share the love! I've got a garden full of snails and would love to breed them for future chameleon snacks.
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
Sandrachameleon has a blog on snails.

Thats where I learned almost everything I know :)

Basically, it is just an aquarium with a topsoil substrate, some sticks and leaf litter from the yard. I mist twice a day and it is important that there is decent airflow so the tank dries between mistings. The soil should be moist, never dry, never soggy. I do a complete tank clean once a week which includes cleaning the branches, rocks, replacing leaf litter, and drying out the soil a little (with a fan).

They eat most any fruit or veggie, and especially love romaine lettuce. I dust the food with plain calcium with a touch of herptivite vitamins.

They are really fascinating to watch, completely alien. They are hermaphrodites and the shoot eachother with "Love darts" as part of the mating ritual. They lay beautiful pearl looking eggs that transform into snails over the course of two weeks.
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
Wow never would have guessed snails :) So do you keep them outside or in and what do they eat?

I keep them inside in aquariums. Their ideal temp is around 70 degrees, so its perfect for room temperature.

Here is a couple pictures of my adult snail enclosure (I have the babies in a separate 10 gallon aquarium).

IMG_20130404_134258.jpg


IMG_20130404_131725.jpg
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
Oliver once did that to me- but he was mad - lol acted like I did it- is that not the weirdest feeling- lol - there is like a cup on the end - he had the whole tip of my finger pad in the cup thing - but he also was able to let go, and no issues w/ his tongue - and like you said, it makes you jump a tad- lol I am so glad Sammy is getting snails - :D

It was such a weird feeling. More suction, softer, and warmer than I thought it would be.

I thought Moe would be mad at me afterwards, but I think it had the opposite effect :)

I was glad to see Sammy go after the snails too... They are so easy to feed, it really decreased my anxiety over getting him proper nutrition :)
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
Thanks for sharing this! I'm so going to be looking for snails tomorrow morning so I can also do this :)

Good luck with the snail hunting!

You will definitely want to breed the snails you find and feed off the babies only. Wild caught snails are likely to have parasites.
 
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