Readers’ Questions – Cracked or Broken Shells



I am after some advice – One of my 6-month old snails has fallen off a plant pot today and cracked the entrance to its shell, what should we do? It’s only a small crack a bit like flaking the very end of your nail off.


Do you advise taking it to a vet to see if it can be repaired or should we leave it? Will it be in any sort of pain?


Thank you for reading,

Hi Dawn,

If the crack is at the entrance of the shell then it should repair itself as it grows without too much problem. The snail won’t be in any pain, as you say, it’s like breaking a fingernail. Although, if it stops eating or acting differently then let me know. Your snail might appear to be eating away at the entrance to its shell, but this is normal – they do this to try and smooth out broken or jagged parts.

If snails crack their shells further up then it can be more of an issue, although vets are unlikely to be able to help as they don’t tend to have much experience with snails. Snails are generally good at repairing their own shells, but sometimes a large break or hole might require a bit of assistance, particularly if the snail’s body has become open to the elements. If you want to attempt to repair a snail’s broken shell, then this article is really helpful.

Hope that helps, good luck!

Readers’ Questions – Film Over Shell Opening

Hi there,


One of my GALS has been under the soil for 6 days now and has a film over his opening. Any idea why he’s been under the soil for so long and why a film has developed over his opening at all?


Thanks in advance,


Hi Carly,

This happens when snails go into hibernation and is perfectly normal during colder months. You don’t say where you live but if it’s not winter right now then you can try warming the tank up with a heat mat or giving him a bath to wake him up.

Good luck!

Readers’ Questions – Snail Out Of Hibernation But Not Eating

I recently had 4 emails from different people saying that their snails had woken up from hibernation but were not eating or moving around much, so this is clearly a common concern.

Hi there, my snail woke up a week ago from hibernation but this time I’m worried about him. He’s not eating, drinking or moving around the tank like normal, he’s just sat in the corner. Is this normal or should I be worried? Any advice would be great, thank you.

Hi, my snail woke up from hibernation a week ago & he’s hardly moved around the tank, eaten or drunk anything. He’s just sat in the corner of the tank. He’s never done this before after hibernation, is this normal or should I take him to the vet?

My giant African land snail has come out of hibernation this week but despite water, fresh food and clean tank he hasn’t eaten at all and now looks like he is trying to hibernate again. Can you help?

My giant African snail has just woken up from the winter but is not eating anything – it has been nearly 4 days now. Can you help?

If you are having the same trouble with your snail(s), my advice is to give them a bath to try and wake them up. You can do this by placing them in a shallow dish of warm water, making sure it doesn’t cover their mouth or breathing hole. If your snail is large, you can also shower them using a very light dribble from the tap. You can find more details on bathing snails here.

In my experience, this usually perks them up a bit and kick-starts their appetite. If not, continue feeding your snails as normal and give them some time, as they might just be adjusting to the new weather.

This worked for Susan, who emailed me back to tell me how her snail was doing :)

Hi, Thank you so much for getting back to me, you were so right! The day after your message my snail had a good feed & drink. I’m so glad I emailed you, thanks again! Susan xx

Hope that helps, and if you have any other snail questions then email me on and I’ll try and get back to you as soon as I can.

Readers’ Questions – Are These Eggs?

Hello, my name is Emma and I was wondering if you could help me and answer a question about my pet snail.


He/she is called Gary and I have had her for just over a year now, Gary originally came from my mums nursery but I’ve looked after him in my room since I looked far him at Christmas 2013, he has a large tank water and I feed him cucumber be regularly although he has not been given a cuttlefish in a while.


My concern is whilst I was spraying his soil with water I noted two large egg like things on his right side, I’ve done some research but can’t seem to find anything, I’ve included a picture to help. I would really appreciate your help as I only know the basics about African land snails and I am becoming worried about him.


Kind regards,


giant african land snail eggs

Hi Emma,

My snail is called Gary too! Are you a Spongebob fan? :)

Anyway, those definitely look like snail eggs – are they attached to him or can you get them off? If they come off I think they probably eggs that have got stuck to him somehow. You might want to check under the soil for more and then freeze them so you don’t end up with hundreds of babies.

Good luck!

Definitely a Spongebob fan :)



They did come off Gary soon after I sent the email and so figured they were probably eggs. I definitely did not expect Gary to be laying eggs anytime soon!

Readers’ Questions – Snail Starter Kit

Hi there,

My son received a Komodo Giant African Land Snail Starter Kit for Christmas and before we purchase a snail we have some questions, I hope you can help.


1. I’ve read lots of different information about what substrate can be used, top soil, all purpose compost, peat based compost, coir etc. Are all of these ok or only some of them?


2. Is Spaghnum Moss to be used in addition to the soil/compost/coir?


3. Is the dual temp/humidity gauge place inside or outside of the tank, and whereabouts?


4. Is a thermostat definitely required? If so, is this attached to the heat mat?


Apologies for all the questions, it’s a whole new world and we want to make sure we do things right.


Thanks so much,
Vicky & Ike

Hi Vicky and Ike!

1. All of the substrate types you mention should be fine. The reason so many are suggested is that it can be hard to find certain types in certain areas and some are more expensive than others. I suggest initially using whichever is best for you, but if you find your snails don’t react well to it (i.e. they hide in their shells or spend a lot of time on the sides of the tank) then consider trying a different type.

2. Most people use sphagnum moss on top of another soil-based substrate, although this is not mandatory.

3. You should put the temperature and humidity gauge inside the tank, so it gives you an accurate reading of the habitat your snails are experiencing.

4. You don’t necessarily need a thermostat, although it does help you keep your tank at a consistent temperature. It should be put in the tank, so it gives you an accurate reading. However if you have set your heat mat at a specific temperature, this should be enough for you to know roughly how hot the tank is.

Do not apologise for asking questions! It is always best to ask if you are unsure, especially when the welfare of an animal is at stake.

Good luck with your snails!

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 – At What Age do GALS Lay Eggs?

Hi, I’m just wondering when baby land snails are old enough to lay eggs.



Hi Jenni,

Giant African land snails can start breeding at around 6 months old. The larger of the two snails is usually the one who lays the eggs. Also, snails are hermaphrodites, meaning that one snail is both both male and female and although they don’t often self fertilise, it is not unheard of, so having a single snail won’t guarantee that you won’t end up with eggs or baby snails.

You can learn more about the breeding habits of snails on our breeding and eggs page.

Hope that helps!

Readers’ Questions – Leftover Egg Shell

Hi, I have 2 baby African land snails which hatched 10 days ago and one still has about half of it’s egg shell over the top of it’s shell. I am concerned this may affect the development of it’s shell as it does not seem to be growing quite as quickly as the other one. It is active, feeding on leaves and I have seen it eating both cuttlefish and oyster shell in the tank. Any advice gratefully received!


Many thanks,
Michelle Gibson

Hi Michelle,

Just like humans, snails can grow at different rates, so I wouldn’t worry too much, expecially as your snail seems to be eating fine. However, if you can brush the leftover egg shell off your snail, then that would probably help and also make him/her more comfortable.

Hope that helps, and good luck with your new snails!

Readers’ Questions – Heat Mat for Snail Babies

Good afternoon, I would appreciate if you could provide me with some information.


We purchased 2 baby snails on Saturday, which came with a tank, soil base, cuttlefish and a piece of cucumber, we have sprayed it for the last 3 days with warm water and just today changed the piece of cucumber.


I have read that we may need a heat mat, which I have just purchased today, but on all the sites I have looked on it refers to the snails when they have grown, so I am unsure whether to use the mat or not.


Would you please tell me exactly what equipment I need and the general care day to day of these babies as I want to look after them well for my little boy?


Thank you in advance for your time,
Mrs. Mellors

Hi Mrs. Mellors,

It’s great that you are so keen to take good care of your snails for your little boy!

Regardless of their age, giant African land snails should be kept at a temperature of between 20-26 degrees Celsius, which usually means a heat mat is required, especially in colder months. You can find a good heat mat suitable for most tanks or terrariums in your local pet shop or on Amazon. (I’ve included some useful links below).

Both adult and baby GALS also require a humid habitat – around 80% humidity – so spray them regularly with water. You can check the humidity of the tank using a hygrometer (Links below).

Read more about heating your snail tank here.

Readers Questions – Handling New Snails



I was just wondering how to handle the snails easier. My snails are only 4 weeks old and I rarely handle them, but when I do hold them they don’t really come out.


I was just wondering how I could get a better relationship, maybe holding them more?


Jamie-Lee Slassor

Hi Jamie-Lee,

Thanks for your question – it’s great that you want to build a better relationship with your snails, they are very rewarding pets!

The best way to handle snails is with wet hands, since they prefer warm, damp climates. I find that giving my snails a bath encourages them to come out of their shells and explore more, so you could try handling them after a quick wash in warm water to wake them up a bit.

Also, try putting some food on your hand too. Your snails will be more likely to come out of their shells if there is something yummy on offer!

You can read more about handling snails here.

Hope that helps, let us know how you get on!