SKINK DIETS: Slugs and Snails
Skinks are one of my most favourite lizards and above you can see my own Northern Australian Blue Tongue, Oggie, chowing down on a snail! But how safe is it to feed your skinks slugs and snails?
These smiley creatures are a big part of the Skinks diet in the wild, its naturally hard wired into this lizards brain to want to munch on a snail as soon as it sees one, even if its the first time they’ve ever seen one! But before you feed your Skink one of these gooey treats its extremely important to remember the following things:
1. DO NOT feed your Skink a wild caught slug or snail! Wild caught mollusks carry the strain that if digested may very well give your pet lungworm. You may have seen adverts informing you of the dangers of letting dogs and cats eat wild slugs or snails for fear of contracting a lung worm, this is the exact same case for your reptile! Not only that but the Snail may have been sprayed with various insecticides and other nasties that would make your Skink very sick or worse.
2. FEED YOUR FOOD! Sure, snails and slugs are packed with juicy goodies but like with most live foods its always a good idea to gut feed your prey-to-be! Snails and slugs are the goats of the mollusk world, they will eat ANYTHING you give them! From cat food to garden weeds. As a rule of thumb I feed my snails the same food that my Skink is allowed to eat on a regular basis such as leafy greens, small amounts of chicken cat food and various fruits. This way the live food is packed full of extra nutrients as well as getting lots of yummy pleasant food to snack on to keep it happy before they are sent off to mollusk heaven!
AFRICAN LAND SNAILS: The snail shown in the picture is an adolescent African Land Snail, a very large Mollusk that is most commonly sold as food and pet snails. If you live in England like I do, you can buy these guys for £1 a snail from Paws for Thought. These Snails are eating machines and will eat anything and everything you throw into their tanks. Like most snails, these guys WILL seal themselves up if they aren’t kept moist. I keep my chaps on Eco-Earth pet soil and give them a heavy misting every morning, this gives them enough water to drink off of the side of the tank. These guys are also quite speedy breeders too, so if you want a steady supply of Skink treats I suggest you buy 4 adults and leave them to it. Snails will change gender depending on how many males or females there are in the tank, so don’t worry about getting all the same sex!
CANNED SNAILS: Canned snails are pre killed snails that, as the name suggests, have been canned. Much like cat food. You can get these from pretty much any pet shop that caters to exotic animals. I believe these cost between 50p to £1.50 as you can get various can sizes. Now personally my Skink doesn’t really like the canned snails too much, he prefers live food and the texture of a moist snail. Canned snails can tend to be quite stiff, but the good point is that you don’t have to feed your skink a live snail and also they’re a lot smaller than African Land Snails so they’re much better suited to smaller Skinks!