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Can Certain Snails Really Sleep for 3 Years? 

Let’s Learn Exactly How Some Snails Sleep

At first glance, you may not assume that land snails live very fascinating lives. However, these gastropods live quite unique lifestyles. These animals are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs. They have no sense of hearing, and salt is potentially toxic for them. However, one of the most interesting aspects of their life is how they sleep. Exactly, how long can certain snails sleep for? You may be surprised by the answer. 

How Long Can Snails Sleep?

Certain land snails can sleep for up to three years in hibernation or estivation. Yes, it’s true!  Although this extended nap may sound appealing at first, it is actually caused by less-than-ideal conditions. 

Why Do Snails Sleep So Long?

Snails need moisture to survive; so if the weather is not cooperating, they can actually sleep up to three years. It has been reported that depending on geography, snails can shift into hibernation (which occurs in the winter), or estivation (also known as ‘summer sleep’), helping to escape warm climates. During this time, the snails will secrete mucus over their bodies to protect themselves from the dry, hot weather. As glamorous as it may sound, snails don’t always sleep for three years in their own mucus. When the weather is just right, snails do tend to follow a pretty regular sleeping schedule.  

Does A Snails Sleep Schedule Differ From Humans?

Unlike humans, snails don’t abide by the rules of night and day. Generally, snails will sleep on and off in between periods of 13 to 15 hours. Afterwards, they experience a sudden jolt of energy for the next 30 hours, where they get all their snail chores done! 

How Can You Tell If a Snail Is Asleep?

It can be pretty tough to determine whether or not a snail is sleeping, considering they don’t show any obvious signs such as having their eyes closed or snoring. However, there are still a few simple ways that can help you tell whether or not a snail is sleeping:

  • The shell may hang away from their body slightly
  • Relaxed foot
  • Tentacles appear withdrawn a little 

It may be easy to assume that the gastropod is dead, but don’t jump to conclusions when you see an immobile snail in the garden — it may just be taking a power nap. 

Do Reptiles Need Veterinary Care?

do reptiles need veterinary careOne of the most common misconceptions about exotic pets is that they don’t need veterinary care. Nothing could be further from the truth. Responsible owners of reptiles understand they are not low-maintenance pets. Reptiles require expert care throughout their lifetime, which depending on the species, could be more than 20 years! They also cannot regulate their body heat, so they will require strictly controlled environments with thermometers, heaters, humidifiers and special day and night light sources.

Snakes
Snakes need frequent veterinary checkups. Most are carnivorous, and prone to contracting any number of parasites as well as blister disease, respiratory and digestive disorders and mouth rot. Many types of snakes can live for decades and grow to more than 5-feet long. Snakes need at least a 30-gallon tank, fresh water and strictly controlled 
daytime and nighttime temperatures. Their habitats must be regularly cleaned.

Turtles & Tortoises
Turtles are water-lovers, while tortoises live on land. Domestic aquatic turtles need at least 30-gallon habitat with strictly controlled temperatures, water to swim in, an area to bask in. They eat a varied diet that includes vegetables, turtle food for extra nutrients, and in some cases, insects. The average lifespan of an aquatic turtle is 25 years.

Tortoises can live to a ripe old age, so they’re definitely a long-term commitment – especially when you realize they could outlive you. Tortoises are land dwelling herbivores who love vegetables, fruits and tortoise food. Keeping them as pets require a large environment – at least a 40-gallon tank or terrarium – with a shallow bowl of water. The temperature should be warm and humid. Be sure to check with your vet for specific requirements.

Iguanas
Green iguanas can live for more than 20 years and grow to more than 6 feet long! They’re strict vegans. Their diet is limited to a very specific range of greens and fruits. Enclosures for a full-grown iguana should be at least 18 feet long, humidified, and maintained at a particular temperature with specific timetables for periods of darkness and ultraviolet light. Iguanas are some of the most frequently abandoned pets – simply because the proper care requirements are so extensive. 

Responsible Pet Care for Reptiles
Reptiles cannot regulate their own body heat, so they need temperature and brightness-regulating devices like:

  • Humidifier to keep air warm and moist
  • Daytime lights and heat sources. Reptile tanks need a “hot side” and a “cool side” so they can regulate their body temperature. 
  • Nighttime lights and heat sources. The cool side of the tan needs infrared heat lamps for nighttime use. Some reptiles – like iguanas – also require ultraviolet light.
  • Thermometers. Get two thermometers: one for the hot side and one for the cooler side.

Reptiles Also Require These Accessories

  • Hides where they can retreat from the heat and rest
  • Food and water bowls, some need deeper water for swimming
  • Tile, newspaper, or reptile carpet bedding
  • Rocks, logs, plants, and other accessories

Human Health Risks of Reptiles
Each year approximately 70,000 people in the US contract salmonellosis from direct or indirect contact with reptiles and amphibians. Children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illness or death.

Click here for a list of AZPetVet hospitals that treat exotics and reptiles.