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Snails as pets

Snails are very easy to keep so they make good pets.They don't take up a lot of room,are not messy and their food can be a number of different things.If you can't find anybody who takes care of them in the holidays,you easily can release them in the wild.

Housing

You can keep your snails in many different housings but there are some basic things to remember.Snails like moist environments but too wet isn't good.So old aquariums are ideal as long as you replace the hood with something that will let the air in.For ideal purposes I would use plastic or glass for your snailarium.This makes it easier to clean and you can see your snails better.Although snails don't need a lot of space I recommend giving two or three snails about 30 cm(a foot) by 30 cm floorspace.Especially if you keep adult Helix aspersa.Ofcourse,the smaller species need less space. The soil can be from your garden,but be carefull not to bring in snail enemies.You can bake the soil to kill all bacteria.Sandy soil or clay is not good,an alternative is peat.Make sure you have at least two inches of soil on the bottom,more if you want to breed snails.You can also place flower pots filled with 3 or 4 inches of soil on the bottom.This will give the snails a place to lay their eggs. During the daytime snails like to hide under or in something.A broken flowerpot will do nicely,but some rocks or cork-bark work too.It's nice to have some plants in your snailarium,plants with broad leafs will give your snails shelter. Give your snail-house a place away from direct sunlight.This will prevent the soil from drying out and your snails from being roasted.It's sometimes suggested to put a few earthworms in the soil.They will keep it loose and eat some of the snaildroppings.But you will need to replace part of the soil after a few weeks,especially in small housings. Here are some ideas to use as a snailarium:aquariums,big glass jars,propagators you can buy at your local garden center,anything you can make your self.

Feeding and Caring
Snailfood can be a broad variety of things.Naturally they like greens.Lettuce,cabbage,leafs from garden plants(Hosta's !)and weeds.But also cucumber,boiled potato,carrot,oats and bran.It's important that the snails have plenty of calcium for their shells.You can provide it by giving them eggshells(small pieces),old snail shells or a cuttle bone.Make sure whatever you give them is washed.This counts for all food.If you spray your snailarium daily,it isn't really necessary to give them water. But if you feed your snails a lot of dry food you can place a bowl of water(not to deep though)on the soil.
Please note that this is aimed at garden snails only and not at Giant African Landsnails. Follow this link for more info or look on the linkspage.