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Tips For Looking After Your Giant African Land Snail (GALS)
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.
ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY AFTER HANDLING SNAILS. DO NOT TOUCH TOUCH YOUR FACE UNTIL YOU HAVE DONE SO.
GIANT AFRICAN LAND SNAILS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO CARRY A PARASITE WHICH CAN CAUSE MENINGITIS IN HUMANS. WASH HAND THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP AFTER HANDLING, BUT DO NOT HANDLE AGAIN WITH THE CHEMICALS ON YOUR HANDS.
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
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 :)