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Escargot for turtles

My wife and I have several tanks, including one 40g with a 6" red-eared
slider.  All the tanks are planted, and the clippings go in the turtle tank,
where they eventually turn into turtle salad.  We recently discovered a new
delicacy that the turtle just loves.  

Several years ago, I only had red ramshorn snails in my tanks.  Since then,
I've purchased plants with pond snails, trumpet snails, and brown spotted
ramshorns as well (I've also owned apple snails, but don't have them any
longer).  The brown spotted ramshorns are the most noxious of all.  They are
harder on my plants than the other snails, and their eggs are pinpoint size,
so they are impossible to keep out of new tanks (without trying something
drastic).  They also breed at a very small size, and have somehow eliminated
all my red ramshorns.

Well, I figured that since the turtle tank probably has more need for waste
management than any other tank, I'd just toss a few pond and spotted ramshorn
snails in there.  

Yesterday morning, I was looking at the tank, and noticed a medium sized pond
snail just above the water line on the back of the tank.  Directly below the
snail was the turtle.  I noticed that the turtle was very interested in the
snail and watched for a minute.  When the snail came down within range of the
turtle, the turtle opened its mouth, extended its head out of the water and
snatched the snail.  I had seen the turtle grab snails before, but it had
always been unable to injure them, so I figured it would mouth the snail for a
while and give up.  Then I heard a crunch, crunch, crunch sound and realized
that the turtle really, really liked the snails.  I've been tossing larger
snails from the other tanks in occasionally, and the turtle has even learned
how to break the shell of the spotted ramshorns.  It's quite an interesting
sight, and qualifies as an easy and readily available food source in many
planted tanks.

David W. Webb
Live-Foods list administrator