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Tips For Looking After Your Giant African Land Snail (GALS)

Updated on June 30, 2010

Your Giant African Land Snail

I have decided to construct this hub as it seems so many people have no idea how to care for their snails. I have recently been given two GALS by a friend. They were in a terrible state, the tank and the snails were filthy, the food was off and BOTH snails had contracted mites. Nevertheless, I took them on, they are now healthy and clean.. and happy with their new surroundings, by the looks of things.

Giant snails are native to east africa, and can grow to about 25cm (10in), and live for over 9 years. They make good pets as they are relatively low maintenance. Snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they carry the male and female sex organs. Therefore, If you keep more than one snail together, they will breed rapidly: the average GALS can lay up to 600 eggs a year.

Housing and Bedding

1. One snail needs a tank roughly 45cm x 25cm x 25cm, Glass or Plastic
2. Make sure the tank is well ventilated and secure
3. Snails are most comfortable with a temperature of about 25 Degrees Celsius, using a
heatmat will keep the tank at the correct temperature.
4. Line the tank with a thick substrate such as cocoa fibre, do not use soil from your garden as
it may contain chemicals or stones etc. which are harmful to your snail.
5. Keep the bedding damp.
6. Provide bark etc. for your snail to climb on or hide under.
7. Spray the tank regularly, aim to maintain the level of humidity at about 60 - 70%


The snails should be picked up gently by their shells. It is best to pick them up off the floor rather than when they are stuck to the walls of the tank. The snails won't mind being handling, just make sure your hands are clean and free from sweat and chemicals. You should always dampen your hands before handling your pet snail.


Feed your snail leafy greens every day such as Lettuce, Spinach or Cabbage. Again wash all vegetables to remove chemicals before feeding to your snail. Remove all unwanted food at the end of the day.
Also provide a cuttlefish bone, natural chalf or crushed egg shells for calcium. Snails need calcium to help maintain healthy shell structure.

Provide a shallow bowl of fresh water, filled no more than a few millimeters deep as the snail may drown.


Clean the tank of snail trails and change the substrate every week. Wash the empty tank with warm water only, as detergents may be harmful to your pet.

When emptying or changing the substrate check very carefully for snail eggs, they can be very difficult to see, but it is very important that no Giant Snails are released into the wild.

If you find eggs and you don't want them to hatch, you must place them in a container and freeze them for at least 48 hours before disposing of them. If you do want them to hatch, remove them from the larger tank at place them in another container on a bed of peat free substance.

The eggs can take up to 30 days to hatch, but the snail carrying the eggs can hold them for up to a year before laying them.


Your snail should be free from health problems if you have followed this advice, It is critical that your snail is not exposed to any chemicals arounf the home, If the environment is too hot, cold or dry your snail will hide and become inactive, a membrane may form just under the shell. A healthy snail has a clean unbroken shell, and no unusual lumps or patches on its body.




GALS are illegal to own or keep as pets in the United States and Canada. Please contact your local agriculture officials or the USDA if you have one, or see them offered for sale in the United States. In Canada, contact the CFIA.

Never release any type of exotic animal into the local wild population. Seek assistance from your local pet shop

Two giant african land snails
Two giant african land snails
Baby Snail
Baby Snail


Two Giant African Land Snails

This photograph shows the size of a newborn GALS and the egg it came from in relation to the size of a 5 pence coin. SEARCH BEDDING CAREFULLY!

The Anatomy Of The GALS :)


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      payten 15 months ago

      why do you own a illegal pet

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      Dee 3 years ago

      Why do I keep getting little flies in my tank

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      sj smith 3 years ago

      Many of the people posting comments appear not to have read the article. Most terrifying is the enquiry "why do they need to be wet?" Er, hello, they're SNAILS!!!! Also there is such a thing as a VET guys, they like a DOCTOR for PETS!! WHO KNEW??

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      Jacki 3 years ago

      I love watching GALS out in my yard. And tonight we just find about 50+ new babies. They are so adorable. Guess Hawaii weather is perfect for them.

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      ONI 3 years ago

      Hi I have one snail who laid eggs a few weeks ago and today 3 hatched I'm so pleased this has happened and they are lovely my daughter is jealous as she has two lol

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      magpie 3 years ago

      to the younger people of this page your snails need a very good supply of calcium to help there shell grow strong so they don't get cracks or start eating eachothers shells.

      i bath my snails they love it i use cotton balls and warm water or run the tap slowly on a warm setting and let them stick there heads in and out they LOVE it and it also brings there shells up so you can see all of the beautiful patterns. not washing them is ok as long as the tank is clean and the food is removed before it goes mouldy i try and feed my snails out of the tank you just don't want them to get any horrible mites that might hurt them so giving them a rinse is a good idea.

      if they haven't laid eggs its because the conditions of there tank isn't right for breeding i.e not warm enough, the soil isn't deep enough, not moist enough, i have had 2 lots of eggs in the last week so i now have around 300 eggs in a seporate tub.

      and before anyone mentions the little flies this is normal most snail keepers come across this its because of the food just try and remove them or like i said feed them out of the tank.

      you can buy snail food on ebay for a great price that has been made by snail keepers full of all the right things and snails love it!

      beer is very good for snails they love it (only in a small amount as a treat) real beer ( bitter)

      hope this helps and please ignore my horrible spelling :)

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      magpie 3 years ago

      if they are eating eachothers shells it means that they do not have enough calcium you need to buy cuttlefish bone from the pet shop

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      mjxxx 3 years ago

      Hey, one of my GALS has no pupil in one of its eyes, why is this? Also, I have had my snails for over a year now and I have never heard of washing them, is this bad? Thanks in advance xXx

      Oh, almost forgot, my snails have never laid eggs or mated and as I said before, I've had them for over a year xXx

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      xcourtneyx 4 years ago

      hi im 11 my giant African land snails (GALS) keep eating each others shells what does it mean?

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      courtney pearson 4 years ago

      hi im 11 i have 2 giant African land snails and there shells seem to have little cracks does this mean there not healthy? they had cracks in before i bought them

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      lucy Farebrother 4 years ago

      My giant African land snail has an unusual lumy on the tail on of its body it just looks like a lump of skin can anybody help is it contagious ?? :/

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      Akira Beckett 4 years ago

      i'm 12 and my mum bought me 2 for xmas and this info has helped me and my baby GALS

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      Chris 4 years ago

      Hi we have two quite large GALS we keep them in large tank although they seam ok ie:eat, move, and have cottlefish they don't lay eggs we have had them for 3years

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      daisy 4 years ago

      ive kept GALS for a while now and love them ... to help answer a few questions ... if the shell looks dry or flakey then chances are its not had enough moisture a good thing I find is to give your snails a shower ! . mine love it .. to do this carefully pick one of your snails up and run the tap so it is luke warm I hold mine under the slow running water so it trickels off the shell onto the snail at the same time with a soft baby tooth brush I gently brush the shell to remove any dirt or other trails left by my other snails crawling over each other ... I do this once a week with each snail and they love it .... to spray the tank most £1 shops or bargain stores have the water spray bottles that hairdressers use spray the sides of the tanks and the snails when the tank looks a little dry to keep them refreshed .. for another question above snails do not mate they have both male and female parts so even if you have one snail chances are in time it will at some point lay eggs .. if your snails have become inactive then its simply too cold for them .. they are used to a warm climate and although the room and air might feel warm to us it can sometimes just not be warm enough for your snails .. when I first got mine they would dig under the soil and sleep .. I cured this by removing half of the soil in the tank so the soil heats up easier and I moved them for a short time to the airing cupboard .. my snails hate the day light so I also found they would hide from the sun light .. again I cured this by covering the tank in the day time with a throw / towel and each time I lifted the cover to check they would be happily snailing around the tank .. revove the cover on an evening and enjoy watching them .. they tend not to sleep or hibanate if its already dark for them and if its warm enough ..

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      esther jackson 5 years ago

      Hi, I have had my Snail for almost a year now, but recently his shell has gone quite dry. Please help!!! thanks.

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      rubezzz.x11 5 years ago

      im 12 and i used this website to reserch GLAS to convince my mum to get me 1 and all the info has been really help ful especially getting it off someone hwo acctually owns a GALS

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      David 5 years ago

      Hi I am looking to start owning my own snail but can not find anywhere that's sells them can anyone help

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      aimee 5 years ago

      why do you need to keep them wet?

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      Kaylouise 5 years ago

      i have 2 adult 3 junior 3 babys an 6 eggs which make 14 giant african land snails i love them to death they are amazing and very easy to look after this site is very helpful

    • profile image

      david 5 years ago

      please can you help me, i think that my snails have become inactive, why is this

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      sinead 6 years ago

      ive got 4 in a large tank they are about 10 months old when do they start laying eggs

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      pepperjackcheese 6 years ago

      if their shell looks dry it might mean they are old

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      june 6 years ago

      they are also very so be careful with them

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      saul 1 6 years ago

      hi i have one gals and it has been growing very well, i had a little issue with part of his shell coming away but with the cuttle fish it grew back instantly. but having made no changes to the tank or soil? the snail has stopped eating all its food and cuttle fish bone??? and when he comes out of his shell(which is little and often) he looks like he is bursting out of it? can anyone help.....

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      linda 6 years ago

      can you keep two snails together if you can what must i do to keep them happy

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      mitchell 6 years ago

      how do I get my african land snails to mate

    • profile image

      mitchell 6 years ago

      how do I get my african land snails to mate

    • profile image

      louise 6 years ago

      i have a couple of giant snails and there shells look dry how can i get them to look shiny

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      Ells 6 years ago

      this was a very helpull website..... i have two of my own giant snails but one has a brocken shell due to falling out of the container, what should i do????

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      Tracy 6 years ago

      Thank you for doing this site. It was extremely helpful. Thanks again. :)

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      gary 6 years ago

      how long o achatina fulica eggs take to hatch

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      Sarah 6 years ago

      I Just wash their shells using some wet cotton wool



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      Milena 7 years ago

      Just wash them under the tap, but make sure its not too hot or too cold. I have snials and they love being washed like this!

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      Emma 7 years ago

      Hi there I'm a girl who is 13 years old and I have a afrcan snail and. I need to know how to wash them plz