Having a pet is not always easy and fun. Most popular pets require extensive care, attention, and often cost a lot of money. Not snails though!
If you want a pet but you don’t have the right conditions for the traditional ones, such as dogs or cats, you should consider getting a snail. They are low-maintenance and they can live with you for up to two decades!
I decided to write a guide on how to keep a snail as a pet, with the hope of helping you in the process. You will learn everything you need to know about several popular snail species.
How To Keep a Land Snail as a Pet
Common garden snails are the most widely known species of snails in the world. They live in gardens, forests, meadows, and similar habitats all over the world. They are also grown in captivity with the purpose of making escargot – a culinary specialty made of snail meat.
Some other popular land snails are the Giant African snail, Roman snail, and Milk snail.
If you decide to keep a garden snail as a pet, you can find it in a nearby forest, park, or even in your own garden. When it comes to rarer species, check out well-equipped pet shops and online stores that ship to your city.
It’s best to get fully-grown garden snails rather than eggs or baby snails because they will be easier to take care of.
Land Snail Habitat
Most land snails require a moist and warm environment free of direct sunlight and predators. If you have a backyard, your garden snails will be just fine outside, as long as you don’t allow other animals around them.
If you want to keep them inside, you will need a terrarium. You can buy one in a pet shop or you can just use a plastic or a glass box. Don’t use cardboard and similar material as snails can chop it down and escape.
Fill the terrarium with a substrate that is sterilized and chemical-free. It should be at least two inches deep.
Remember that the snails can crawl up and escape the terrarium if you don’t close it on top. However, don’t forget to poke the holes through the box so they can breathe.
A garden snail’s habitat should be neither too warm nor too cold. The ideal temperature is between 15 and 28 degrees Celsius. If they get too cold, garden snails enter hibernation, and if they are too hot, they go into estivation.
Apart from keeping them in a warm place, you should spray them and their soil with warm water a couple of times a day. Land snails cannot handle dry habitats, so always keep them wet enough.
What To Feed Land Snails
Another great reason to keep a snail as a pet is that they will eat almost anything. Feed them lettuce, cabbage, kale leaves, tomatoes, and carrots.
Give them fruits, such as apples and berries as well. Most of the time, you can feed your land snails with your leftovers. If you want to treat them, throw in some worms and fungi occasionally.
How To Keep a Freshwater Snail as a Pet
Aquatic snails are also a great choice for a pet. They are usually very beautiful and go great with fish and algae in aquariums.
You can get freshwater snails in local pet shops or online. If you are feeling adventurous, go to a lake or a pond and look for the snails in their natural habitat.
Freshwater Snails Habitat
Although different breeds of aquatic snails will need slightly different conditions to thrive, there are some general rules that you should follow.
The water in the aquarium needs to be fresh and free of harmful chemicals, such as chlorine. Therefore, avoid using tap water.
You can either get water from a nearby pond or opt for a more expensive option – bottled water. Another option is to boil tap water before filling the aquarium with it.
The water also needs to be relatively warm, ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius on average.
Freshwater snails require neutral pH of water. Test the aquarium so the pH doesn’t go outside of a 7 to 8 pH range.
Keep in mind that freshwater snails need a few inches of space between the water line and the lid of the aquarium. Always keep the tank closed because they can crawl outside in a matter of hours.
What To Feed Freshwater Snails?
Aquarium snails are as low-maintenance as their land counterparts when it comes to food. They like to eat dead fish, algae, decaying organic matter, and other plants in the tank.
You can also give them the same food you would give to land snails, such as green vegetables, fruits, and leaves. They will be happy with fish food as well.
What Freshwater Snail To Get as a Pet?
Deciding what breed of freshwater snail to get as a pet can be tricky and it largely depends on what other species you plan on keeping in the aquarium. Let’s look into some popular breeds.
- Mystery Snail
Mystery snails are one of the most beautiful freshwater snails out there. They come in different colors, such as yellow, purple, brown, and blue, making every aquarium easily stand out.
You should get this breed if you want a pet that will keep your aquarium clean. They eat algae, leftover fish food, as well as decaying matter. However, they will be happy to get some of your fruits and vegetables too.
The downside of mystery snails is the rate at which they reproduce. If you don’t clean out the eggs frequently, you will be left with hundreds of baby snails in just several months.
- Nerite Snail
Nerite snails are another breed that is amazing for aquariums. They are colorful, medium-sized, and peaceful, meaning that they won’t bother other fish in the tank.
They are great for cleaning the tank as they also eat algae and decomposing plants. In fact, they are so good at it that you will probably need to provide them with additional food because they eat fast and a lot.
The good thing about nerite snails is that they don’t reproduce asexually as most snails do. A female snail needs a male snail to fertilize the eggs. Therefore, you can control the number of snails in the aquarium and prevent infestation.
- Assassin Snail
Assassin snails are one of the most fascinating snails breeds out there. They are colorful, fairly small, and easy to take care of.
Assassin snails get along well with other assassins, fish, and live plants. However, they have this name for a reason. They will eat other snails and other snails’ eggs, which is why they are often kept as pest control in aquariums.
This is why keeping an assassin snail as a pet is a good idea only if you don’t have any other snail breeds in the aquarium.
Another pro of keeping an assassin snail is that they don’t reproduce often. They lay only one egg at a time, and they are not hermaphrodites like most other snail breeds.
How Many Snails Should You Get?
When deciding on the number of snails you should get, you need to get acquainted with the specific breed you want to keep as a pet.
Some breeds reproduce faster so if you get more than one snail you will not be able to get rid of their offspring in as little as a few months, at least not easily. Since snails are capable of fertilizing themselves, this can become a problem with even just one snail.
If you are ready to frequently check for eggs and get rid of them, you can get as many snails as you like. If not, look for species that don’t reproduce that often so you can keep the number of snails under control.
Keep in mind that snails are proven to be social beings. They thrive better when in the company of other snails, so try to consider that when deciding on the number of pet snails you want to get.
Why Should You Keep a Snail as a Pet?
If you are still not convinced that snails are awesome, here are some of the reasons they make a great pet.
Snails are harmless. They won’t bite, chase, or scare your kids as some other animals would.
As you learned from the information above, most snails are very easy to take care of. You won’t have to dedicate a lot of time or money towards raising this pet.
- They live long
Snails can live for years, and sometimes even decades, in optimal conditions.
Keeping a snail as a pet is a good idea, whether you want to keep a snail in your garden, terrarium, or aquarium. There are many snail breeds to choose from so you can surely find one that you will like.
It’s important to provide a snail with a good living environment. For land snails, that is chemical-free, warm, and humid soil. For freshwater snails, you would need fresh, warm, and pH-neutral water.
You can rest assured that you will not spend a lot of money feeding your snails. They eat pretty much everything, so your leftovers will be just enough most of the time.
I hope that you got the information you needed! If there is anything else you want to know that wasn’t covered, please drop your questions down below. Have fun with your new pet snails!