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Giant African Land Snails-what to put in their tank?

(24 Posts)
pinkthechaffinch Mon 21-Sep-09 16:00:29

I've just acquired 2 large snails and am wondering what to put in their tank, particularly as a base.

They came with peat free potting compost and i'm not sure whether to carry on with that or to try something new

Any advice or thoughts please?

they need damp compost / bark / mulch as a base.

Large bits of back too - they like to be kept damp and warm

large bits of bark even

pinkthechaffinch Mon 21-Sep-09 16:11:34

Thanks DM.

Do you bother spraying yours?

ChopsTheDuck Mon 21-Sep-09 16:15:52

you need to spray the tank to keep it moist. compost is fine for the base. We used to oput in bits of courgette and stuff, and then the cuttlefish to keep their shells healthy.

They have one at the school, and it has been a frequent visitor here!

If you don't remove and destroy the eggs, you are going to have lots of baby snails!

we dont have land snails -we got hermit crabs instead. I was just telling you what I saw at the pet shop where we got the crabs from.

Disenchanted3 Mon 21-Sep-09 16:54:03

slug pellets, lol.

Ewwww.

My ds ate one once when we lived in Cameroon.

I have no idea how to keep them as pets, but it was very rainy, hot and humid in Cameroon, if that helps!

ChopsTheDuck Mon 21-Sep-09 17:25:59

wow, I kept threatening to cook the school one, I didn't really think they were edible!

bottersnike Mon 21-Sep-09 17:37:56

diesel?

Chops I would say it wasn't edible. grin He picked it up off the verandah and simply popped it in his mouth. DD used to go round and harvest them all from the garden into a large wheelbarrow. Once she hid them in her bike pannier and I left it in the car over night, the scene next morning inside the car was like Christmas!

pinkthechaffinch Mon 21-Sep-09 18:42:52

LOL bottersnike.

Thanks for all your comments.

I've just been looking at them and one of them has a long sticky-looking black string coming out of it.

Is this a poo? I think it might be.

They are quite gross but dcs love them. They are living on our bathroom windowsill which is probably the most humid place in our house.

PurpleFrog Thu 24-Sep-09 13:45:53

Our snail (Gary) lives on "plantation soil" which we get from the local garden centre pet shop. The soil comes packaged in polythene wrapped blocks which you place in water for 20/30 mins to rehydrate before putting in the tank. It is sterile. We did try him (once) on Coco Husk which was another recommended substrate but he didn't like that - every time we looked at him he was perched on top of something, and he took care to avoid touching the ground. grin

Gary has a plastic plantpot half buried on its side to hide in. He has a cuttlefish bone, a water dish and a saucer for food. dd has had Gary for nearly 1 year now and he has grown lots!

snorkie Thu 24-Sep-09 14:42:54

We were always quite careful not to use compost with chemicals added but used organic peat free. I did read somewhere the fertilisers/pesticides added to some composts could be harmful.

The snails like a cuttlebone to chew on as they need the calcium for shell growth, so you might want one of those in there. Ours always raved over dried milk powder (for similar reasons) too.

cookielove Thu 24-Sep-09 14:51:46

ours at nursery are also thriving on some sort of compost, (i'm not incharge of them thank god)but the lady who is, is quite forgetful and we have had lots and lots of baby snails. we feed them cucumber and apple and sometimes water melon, and they have cuttlefish as well.

only because no one else has said this and i feel i should, you can't release them in england

PurpleFrog Thu 24-Sep-09 15:59:21

.... or Scotland grin

Gary hmmgringrin

So I swear the million or so that lived in our garden never had any access to cuttlefish or milk powder, so how did their shells grow?

snorkie Thu 24-Sep-09 19:42:44

They go for whatever is around that does have highish calcium. If they don't get enough they have thinner shells which are more prone to damage. The big snails are more prone to damage anyway (both due to bigger shells & more weight) so it's more important for them to have thicker shells than for garden snails.

pinkthechaffinch Fri 25-Sep-09 09:24:20

so, I've got 2 snails who've been together all their lives so I can't bring myself to separate them- my sister said they laid 150 eggs last year (thanks sis), of which around 10 survived-what would be the best/most humane way of getting rid of the eggs?

Flushing them down the toilet?

grin @ Gary- ours are called Slitheen and Slimer.

ChopsTheDuck Fri 25-Sep-09 09:30:45

freeze them.

PurpleFrog Fri 25-Sep-09 10:43:02

I second freezing unwanted eggs, then chucking in the bin after a few days.

When dd chose Gary she picked the smallest snail in the tank because she had read that when snails mate it is usually the larger one which lays the eggs, and she didn't want to have to get rid of any. However, that theory didn't work 100% and Gary has laid some eggs - none of which have hatched - but it was quite impressive that "he" laid eggs 6 months after he last had contact with another snail.

Incidentally, a couple of weeks after dd got Gary, her friend and her sister bought two from the same place. They were both bigger than Gary. We looked after them in the summer while her friend was away on holiday, and they are both now a lot smaller than Gary. And their shells are not in as good condition. It looks like they have been rasping at each other's shells for calcium. So, if you have two make sure you have enough cuttlefish bones in the tank.

cookielove Fri 25-Sep-09 11:20:05

if you don't wanna freeze you can boil them although the freezer seems much kinder, you can't flush them

pinkthechaffinch Fri 25-Sep-09 11:49:10

I think I'm going to freeze them. Thanks for your suggestions.

smile

snorkie Fri 25-Sep-09 14:11:44

They can lay eggs several years after mating apparently. And not necessarily all in one batch either, so you may need to continue keeping an eye out on young Gary!

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