Pet Garden Snails
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Tanks and Housing

Housing your snail is easy and inexpencive. You can simply get a 10 gallon glass fish aquarium with a heat resistant screen lid like for a reptile. If you can lift it a 29 gallon aquarium works even better and gives you more room for their "furniture".

Many people think that something like an ice cream bucket will make a satisfactory house for a snail, which isn't true at all. They need adequate ventilation and unfiltered natural or artifical sun light which you can't give them in an ice cream bucket. It's also way to small for more than one snail and snails are social creatures that should never be keep alone.

If you have an emergancy and something like an ice cream bucket is all you have it can be used temorarily until you can get an acceptable temporary house. Just make sure that it has enough small holes int he top that they can get enough air and don't sufficate.

Never put snails in a cardboard box! They usually don't have enough ventilation and are too dry, not to mention they can eat through the cardboard!

The best temporary house you can use for your snail(s) is a plastic critter keeper like for a hamster or mouse. The largest one you can find is the always preferable. These have a snap top lid with plenty of holes for air and are like a miniture version of their main house. Never keep a snail in one for very long, maybe 15 days max.

Usually the only time you'd use a temporary house is when your cleaning your snails main home. Unless you have an emergancy like when my cats knocked down my snails house completely shattering it.

You need to keep their house slightly damp and very, very clean. This means you must change their water and take out their old food stuffs daily replacing with fresh, washed food stuffs. Also clean off their cuttlebone daily. Every week you must change their substrate and completely clean their house. While cleaning their house you should also give them a little bath to make sure their shells are clean. Every few days you can clean off their walls with some unprinted paper towels. Never used printed because the print can be poisonous to a snail. Just remember the cleaner the house the healthier and happier your snails will be!

Substrate

Just having the tank isn't enough. You can't just put them in there house with their food. They MUST have a substrate, preferably garden soil free of pests and chemicals or a pet store reptile bedding like "eco earth" or "bed a beast". It needs to be slightly damp but definately not water logged with puddles every where. Just damp enough that there's no dry spots. This needs to be changed completely every week and their tank scrubbed out with a toothbrush and hot water. Some vinegar will take off any stubborn slime and make it smell nice. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and let dry completely before adding new substrate, them and their furniture.

Water

They will also need a water dish. A small resin reptile dish like the extra small repti rock water dish from Zoo Med works the best. Make sure to thoroughly clean with hot water (and nothing else!) every day. Rinse off with cool water and fill with around a teaspoon of water and no more! It does not need to be filled to the top because they may drown in it and they don't like to wade into deep puddles to get drinks and bathe. You need to give them fresh water every day because it gets stale from just siting there and gets dirt in it. Having two water dishes that you can swich which one is in their house giving them time to completely dry helps kill bacteria.

Artifical Sun Light

A floresent light for reptiles like repti sun 5.0 should be used every day for about 5 hours. This gives them vitamin D. They can live for a little while without a light but they don't do very well. Their become very pale, so giving them a light is like letting a person lie on a beach and get a tan. Except in the snails case it's benifical to their health. Repti sun 5.0 by Zoo Med is the best bulb to use but you could also use the repti glow by Hagen. For a ten gallon tank you'll need the 18 inch/15 watt floresent bulb. To use them, all you need is a 20 inch floresent aquarium hood(only for the light, not the whole hood!). Make sure it has no plasic or glass that the light has to go through to reach your snails. Also they need to be replaced every 6 months or else they quit working. A timer is useful to keep it on a consistant time every day. Make sure when using a light they have something to hide in/under like a plastic pot.

Misting

To keep the susbstrate slightly damp you can mist it with a spray/misting bottle. Make sure it's new and hasn't had anything in it but water! Also, never mist the walls only the substrate. If you get condensation on their walls then their house is to humid and you need to wipe it off with an unprinted paper towel. Slightly damp substrate, a water dish and freshly rinsed food stuffs should give them all the humidity they need. A snail can drown if their house is to humid.

Hiddy Hut

Every snail needs someplace to sleep and hide during the day. Especially when you have their light on. A new plastic pot, or hamster igloo works just fine. You could even use a plastic log like for reptiles or fish just make sure there's no sharp edges.

Furniture, Accessories or Decorations

Other Furniture, accessories and decoration can include: wooden or plastic bird ladders, tree branches, sand blasted grape vines, a food dish, live or plastic plants. Please read the accessories page.

Quick Care List

Provide a clean, fresh, damp environment.
Wash all their food thoroughly before you give it to them.
Remove all old food stuffs daily.
Provide freshly rinsed food stuffs every evening.
Supply clean calcium at all times.
Provide a place to hide in/under.
Wipe down the inside of the tank whenever it starts to get dirty with unprinted paper towels.
Change the substrate once a week.
When changing substrate, clean entire house with hot water (and vinegar for glass tank) rinse thoroughly and let dry completely.
Bathe snails regularly, about once a week.
Daily check for eggs and freeze them.

Next . . . Ventilation


Copyright(c) 2004-2006 Rebecca Smith
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