Giant African Land Snails are relatively easy to keep as pets and don’t require much attention. However, they can live for up to 10 years in captivity (although usually around 5-7 years), so the decision to start keeping snails shouldn’t be made lightly.
The most common species of Giant African Land Snail is Achatina Fulica. They can be identified by their mottled brown, conical shaped shells. This species of snail is originally from East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). They are considered pests in many countries and are illegal in the USA. Because of their pest status, it is illegal to set them and their eggs free in the UK.
Other popular species of snail are Achatina Achatina (Tiger snails), Archachatina Marginata and Achatina Zanzibarica.
Giant African Land Snails can grow up to 12cm in length and weight up to 600g. Most of their growth is achieved in the first year, so after a year you can generally see the maximum size your snail will reach.
Snails are generally nocturnal but seem to enjoy being handled at any time of the day. Find out more about how to handle snails.
Surprisingly, snails can get bored if they are not entertained so it is important to provide them with places to hide like flowerpots and large pieces of bark. Snails also love burrowing so some kind of soil or peat to line the tank is essential. Learn more about soil and substrate for snails.
It is widely assumed that Giant African Land Snails prefer to live in the company of other snails, and that they are less active when kept singly. There is not much scientific evidence to support this, although most people who keep snails seem to find that they group together when sleeping, suggesting that they are happier with other snails around.
Caring For Giant African Land Snails – Basic Introduction
- A clean, fresh, damp environment should be provided. Find more info on equipment for keeping snails.
- All food should be washed thoroughly and old food should be removed from the tank after 1 or 2 days.
- A supply of calcium should be supplied at all times. More info on calcium.
- Wipe down the inside of the tank whenever it starts to get dirty.
- Change the substrate when it starts to look dirty. This is usually around once a week, depending on the number of snails you have.
- Scrub and rinse the tank thoroughly about once a month.
- Bathe the snails regularly (roughly once a month).
- Regularly check for eggs and destroy them if you can’t keep or re-home them.