If you are interested in adopting one of our snails, this is the care guide we recommend you look over! We have many tips and tricks for you to learn.
HOW TO FIND A SNAIL
If you want to get a pet snail you have a few options of where you could get one. You could adopt from us, we have healthy snails that need loving homes! Or, if we are not near you, you could get one from outdoors. You can simply find one by looking under logs, stones, etc. Then you can look near ponds and lakes, and wooded areas. You can also find local breeders near you, or in your state. Please make sure you identify the species you get to insure you are taking care of it properly.
A healthy snail should not be super retracted and should not be dry. Make sure when adopting,\ the snail looks healthy. When you get your snails and it shows a broken shell or any signs of injury, consult with the original caretaker and ask them what you should do. If you ever adopt snails from someone who takes poor care of them, send them a message informing them and let others know of your experience with the seller.
When setting up a good snail tank always be aware of the size and how many snails you are getting. Options for tanks include glass terrariums, critter keepers, plastic containers, and acrylic micro habitats. Generally you should have about 1 gallon of space per snail (Ex. 10 snails, 10 gallon tank.) Not all species of snails need that much space though, smaller snail species that do not grow to be very big should be kept in smaller tanks with more tank mates, or generally just less space. Some people believe that snails don't need tank mates, although we have no clear evidence of that. When you find out what tank you want to use, cover up about 80% of the ventilation. You can do this by covering the tank lid with duck tape, plastic wrap, towels, etc.
Substrate, also known as dirt, is necessary for a snails digestive system, because it contains bacteria they need to actually digest things, and makes it more like their natural environment. You have multiple options of substrate including, coconut fiber, reptisoil, topsoil, or dirt from outside. Any of those can be used just fine! Although the dirt from outdoors should be sterilized in the oven. you can do so by putting it in an oven safe dish and bake on 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 30 minutes. Coconut fiber is most common with many keepers, although it is very dry and has no good bacteria start up in it. So it will take a while for a good micro habitat to form in your tank.
After you get your substrate wet it down really good. You will want to do a tank cleaning every week, removing snail poo from the substrate, but never ever do a substrate change. That is taking away all the good bacteria your snails need and is starting the cycle all over again. I would say about ever 3-6 months you will need to do a 1/3 substrate change.
Tank decor is fairly common in snails tanks. Snails can have decor as long as it'a soft bendable material, as snails can fall on any hard objects, like rocks, and break their shells (this includes ceramic decor.) The best decor for their tanks is plants, real wood, and plastic plant pots. You may use fake things such as soft plastic ornaments, although I do not advice it.
I use real wood and plants in all my snail tanks. You can make a really beautiful terrarium with an assortment of plants. A few of my favorites are hostas, polka dot plants, asparagus ferns, and pothos! The are example of all snails safe plants. Here is a safe and non-safe plants for snails list from a website I love to use https://petsnails.proboards.com/thread/7851/safe-plants-tanks. The ones on the non-safe list you should avoid.
When adding wood to your tank, the best pieces to use are cork or drift wood. Cork, and other wood, can commonly be found in pet store. Although it can get pricey, so sterilizing your own wood is the best idea. You can't sterilize live wood so get dead pieces. The safest method is to get your wood and soak it in water for a few days, then scrubs the dirt off of it. Then boil the wood in hot water for about an hour. Tree to avoid include: Evergreens, Holly, Fir, Cedar, Spruce, Citrus, Pine, Ash, Hawthorne, Willow, Yew, Horse Chestnut, Juniper, Poplar, and Sycamore.
You can also include leaves in your snail's tank. Do not add leaves of the trees that are to be avoided.
You can easily sterilize dead leaves by putting them on a microwave safe plate with a wet paper towel, then place another plate over top (making it enclosed) and microwave them for about 2 minutes. Magnolia leaves work great!
Snails generally do not need a water bowl, however it is option. If you do get one make sure it is only deep enough so they may wade though it. Snails love moist environments and typically soak water through their skin, so you will want to mist their tank twice a day.
Believe it or not snails have a very specific diet. You will want to make sure your snail has fresh food to eat, and change your snails food every other day to prevent mold. Here is a list of safe and unsafe snail foods, https://petsnails.proboards.com/thread/9416/feed-snails. You should avoid any of the toxic foods on the list. Some of the food have little nutritions, like cucumber and lettuce. Those food should only be fed in smaller amounts, or not be fed often. A good mix I like to prepare my snails is beets, carrots, baby lettuce, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, and a fruit of my choice. You should change up the mix of veggies every week to prevent a picky snail, and the mix should include about 80% veggies and 20% fruit.
Over all snails diet should contain around 40-60% vegetables, 10% fruit, 15-30% calcium, 20% protein (credit to www.giantafricanlandsnails.com.)
You should always have calcium available for your snail, the best option for calcium is cuttlebone. You can also use reptile clacium that does not contain D3, or eggshells (not recommended as for long term use.
You should also provide your snail with a protein source. Your options included: eggs, raw meat, and spirulina once a month. Blood worms, fish food, and algae flakes once weekly (all need to be 40% protein). Or beans, dog biscuits, dried bugs, dried mealworms, fish food (20% protein), algae flakes (20% protein), peas, seeds, or snail mix twice weekly. Any dead insects fed to your snails should be rehydrated.
SNAIL AND HUMAN SAFETY
Remember that both you and your snail need to stay safe! Always rinse your hands with water to get rid of oils from your skin before handling. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling, tank cleaning, etc.
If you ever notice any signs of illness in your snail contact an experienced snail owner for help. Signs can be dry skin, deeply retracted, gut protruding from mouth, sealed into shell, small parasites on your snail, broken shell, inactive, etc.
IN CASE OF EMERGANCY
You should always be aware that something could happen to your snail unexpectedly. In case of emergency, like your snail falling, keep some equipment around.
You should also be aware that the more tank mates means more eggs. Snails are most likely going to mate if conditions are correct and they are the same species. If you do not want to care for the eggs you can send them back to us or dispose of them. At starlight snail rescue we are trying to find a way around the mass killing of baby snails. I will hopefully write a blog explaining this in more depth in the future!
I hope that this guide has helped you a lot. if you have anymore questions, or are confused about something, feel free to reach out.