How Do I Know If My Snail Is Dead?

 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program conducts a Giant African Snail (GAS) survey in the Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. USDA Photo by Preston Keres.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program conducts a Giant African Snail (GAS) survey in the Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. USDA Photo by Preston Keres.

This may seem like an odd question, but I've been asked it a lot! 

Snails can retract themselves deep inside their shells, usually because of health or environmental problems, and it can sometimes be hard to see them at all. Similarly, when snails die, they can shrivel up inside their shells, again making them hard to see.

So how do you know if your snail has died or is just deeply retracted?

Smell them. Yes, it might seem disgusting, but a dead snail has a very unpleasant fishy odour. If there's no smell, then it may just be retracted. (Although this still indicates health issues, so don't ignore it!)  

For help with deeply retracted snails, there is a lot of good information here, at here at PetSnails.co.uk.

Questions, HealthKate Dreyer