Readers’ Questions – Bathing, Diet & Sesame Oil

Hi there,


We have two GALS that are approx 14 weeks old. This is the first time I have kept ‘exotic’ pets but my six year old daughter has been very keen to have some for a while – we have a lot of snails in our garden she’s a big fan of the movie Turbo and after an encounter with a VERY friendly, very large GALS at a local wildlife attraction she was hooked, so when a friend said she was looking for a home for some it seemed it was fate for us to take some in! Turbo & Burn ( my daughters idea …. Honest) seem happy and healthy and I have found your website very informative but I just have a couple of questions;


I can only find ‘toasted’ sesame oil – is this okay to use on their shells?


Can I use a combo of sphagnum moss AND topsoil? 


At the moment they only seem to like cucumber and lettuce (& cuttlefish), I have tried them on other fruit and veg but they don’t seem interested – is it okay just to have a diet of cucumber and lettuce?

When should we start to bath them?


Hope you don’t mind all the questions and hope to hear from you soon.
Rebecca and Charlotte

Hi Rebecca and Charlotte,

Thanks for all the questions! In terms of toasted sesame oil, I really don’t know. I can’t imagine it’s too much different from normal sesame oil, but if you are at all worried then I would avoid it. It’s not strictly necessary to oil your snail’s shell, it just gives them a bit of a nice shine! Although, if you do test it out, then let us know the results.

Yes, you can use both topsoil and sphagnum moss, that’s totally fine. Just make sure you clean your tank out regularly.

Some snails can be fussy, and they can live happily on cucumber and lettuce as long as they are getting lots of calcium from the cuttlefish. Of course, a varied diet is always better, so it’s a good idea to keep trying a few different vegetables and fruits. I’ve found strawberries always go down well.

You can bathe your snails at any age, although it’s much easier for them to accidentally drown when they are small, so be very careful. Fill a shallow dish with some lukewarm water, place them on the edge and allow them to explore the water themselves whilst keeping a close eye on them. Always make sure the water is shallow enough so that it doesn’t cover their mouths or heads. Once they are older and large, you can give your snails a ‘shower’ with a gently dribbling tap. They love it!

I hope that answers all your questions, have fun with your snails!

Readers Questions – Snails Not Eating, Should I Dig Them Up?

Hi there,

I have 3 GALS: 2 albino snails and one normal GAL.

They burrow under their substrate for most of the day and I normally dig them up around 10pm to try to get them to eat.

I wonder if it’s just best to leave them and leave them to their own devices leaving them to help themselves to food when they’re ready?

I’m just a bit concerned that they’re not eating a lot despite giving them plenty of variety of fruit and veg to eat.


M .Powell

Hi M, thanks for your question!

If you have only just got your snails, then they may just need some time to settle into their new environment. If you’ve had them a while they still might need to settle in, especially if they are constantly being disturbed.

It’s tempting to try and force your snails to eat, particularly if they haven’t eaten for a while, but digging them up can be stressful for them and may make the problem worse.

I suggest continuing to leave food out, removing and replacing it when it goes mouldy even if it’s not been touched, and leaving your snails to it for a week or two. They should hopefully start to relax, explore their tank and start eating properly in time.

Hope that helps!

Carnivorous Snail From New Zealand – Video

Whilst most snails are happy to stick to a diet of fruit and veg, some snails require more to satisfy their taste buds!

The video below shows a Powelliphanta Superba – a giant land snail which is native to New Zealand. These snails are carnivorous and feed mostly on earthworms, but have also been know to eat other soft invertebrates.

Not only are they meat eaters, but just look at how quick it gulps down that worm! They might be slow movers, but when they are hungry, there is no stopping these snails from grabbing a lightning quick meal!

What Do Giant African Land Snails Eat?

Feeding Giant African Land Snails is easy, as they will eat a large variety of different food. They particularly like cucumber and lettuce as you can see here!

what do african land snails eat?

African land snails also love tomatoes, sweetcorn, sweet potato, cabbage, dandelion leaves, banana, apple and much more. Snails can also eat dog biscuits and fish food! These are actually really good for snails as they contain lots of additional vitamins and calcium which helps their shells grow strong. For a more comprehensive list of food suitable for snails, please see the feeding page.

However, some foods can make snails ill or even kill them. Unsuitable food for snails include onions, processed starchy food such as pasta and bread, or anything containing salt.

As well as a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, African land snails also need a constant supply of calcium to help their shells to grow. Cuttlefish bone is perfect for this and most pet shops stock them. Other sources of calcium include ground oyster shells and eggs shells although these are less effective.