What do snails drink

Snails as a pet

Roman snails and a garden ribbon snail in the
rium. Image: Robert Nordsieck.

Snails are grateful pets - they're easy to care for and don't need to be taken for a walk. In addition, they are interesting to watch, so that a snail terrarium can also contribute to enrichment in school, for example.

We have had several Roman snails for a few weeks (Helix pomatia) and banded snails (Cepaea hortensis) kept in a glass terrarium. So far we have already observed several matings, eggs have already been laid several times, the young have already hatched from one clutch, so that we can also observe their development.

For these juvenile snails we have set up a special juvenile snail terrarium in a small plastic box so that we don't lose any small snails (the juvenile snails are only a few millimeters in size up to now).

As a guide for all those interested who would also like to keep snails, we would like to describe the terrarium for the adult snails and the juvenile snail box. Of course, our terrarium isn't the only good one, but a good opportunity.

Terrarium for large snails

The terrarium for large snails. Image: Robert Nordsieck.

The illustrated, commercially available glass terrarium is 40 cm wide, 25 cm high and 30 cm deep. The front window can be removed as a sliding door. The roof pane is interrupted by a metal strip with ventilation holes.

As can be seen in the picture, we have placed a 4 cm thick layer of terrarium soil in the terrarium, so that the Roman snails in particular have a sufficient layer of soil available for digging, which is also used at every opportunity, for hiding as well as for laying down Eggs.

We strongly advise against using any horticultural potting soil, which is generally interspersed with chemicals that may have a negative impact on the snails. You should also not necessarily use soil from nature, as it can easily catch any pests, in the worst case nematodes or other parasites that can infect the snails. In our case, it is a special terrarium soil that was available from the same company where we bought the terrarium.

On top of the earth is a layer of green leaves with varying composition, which the snails serve as food as well as hiding place. We have used the leaves of different plants from nature, but we have had the best experience with dandelion leaves, as these are also particularly popular with snails.

Egg shells serve as a source of lime for the snails.
Image: Robert Nordsieck.

In addition, the snails are supplied with eggshells as an additional source of lime. Only then did the animals begin to mate and then lay eggs, as lime is also used to make their own eggshells. The snails also ate the egg skin, sat down in the egg shell and removed lime with the sole of their feet, which could then be seen as green marks in the egg shell.

A large piece of bark can be seen in the background of the picture, which the snails use as a hiding place (for example, half a flower pot or a comparable container could be used). The snails gratefully perceived this hiding place, hiding underneath, for example, to keep a dry sleep.

Note: By providing snails with suitable hiding spots in the garden, they can be collected more easily, as they can then be found there in greater numbers!

The snails are fed with cucumber slices and apple pieces. In addition, as already mentioned, they are very fond of dandelions.

The terrarium must be cleaned of mucus and excrement every few days, and you should also use this opportunity to remove any remaining bits of food that could otherwise go into putrefaction. The advantage of an overlay made from picked dandelion leaves in the terrarium is that they can be removed more easily than if you were to try to plant live dandelions in the terrarium.

What do snails eat? An overview of feed for Roman snails (Helix pomatia), spotted garden snails (Cornu aspersum), Banded snails (Cepaea nemoralis) and other snails.


Sleepy snails

What helps against sleepy snails? Image: Robert Nordsieck.

What to do when the snails sit drowsy in their terrarium day in and day out?

A narrow gap allows carbon dioxide to escape.
Image: Robert Nordsieck.

The reason for this can be a lack of oxygen supply: Our terrarium has a sieve bar on the rear edge and there is also a gap several millimeters wide between the front pane and the terrarium. However, our snails mostly remained inactive. Only when the terrarium was freshly cleaned did they crawl around and ate.

The solution to the problem: snails, like us, exhale carbon dioxide, which is known to be heavier than air. After a while, the snails put themselves to sleep because the carbon dioxide collected on the floor of the terrarium.

A temporary solution to the problem was found by tucking two teaspoons under the windshield.

The carbon dioxide was able to escape through this gap, which was just a few millimeters high, but not the snails.

Since then, the snails have been characterized by much higher activity, we actually find several active snails every time we observe the terrarium. In addition, the snails also eat a lot more. Accordingly, they will hopefully grow more and mate happily ...


Raising young snails.

The discussion form http://www.schnecken-zone.de mainly deals with exotic agate snails kept in terrariums,
but enjoys a growing Schnegel community and numerous helpful users.