How to Take Care of a Pet Snail

Cats, dogs, fish you probably know what they’re supposed to do. But snails? Not so much. They don’t have any natural predators, which means that if you leave one out on its own it could live for years without ever eating and growing. The problem is, not only can snails be pretty difficult to housebreak, they also eat everything in sight and aren’t picky.

That said, there are many reasons why you’d want to keep a snail as a pet. If you’re looking for something small and easy-to-take care of, these guys fit the bill. Plus, they’re super adorable (especially when they’re young). You’ll just need some patience and time to get used to their behavior.

Here are seven important things to remember about owning a snail.

1.    Feed and Water the Snail

You may think snails are passive creatures, but they actually require a lot of attention. Snails should feed three times per week, preferably at night. When feeding your snail, place the snail near the center of the dish, where it will feel safe from predators.

Then pour in enough algae to cover the bottom completely. Once the snail starts eating regularly, increase the amount slightly until the shell becomes translucent. This indicates that the snail has reached maximum capacity. After this point, reduce the size of the next meal by half.

Watering needs vary depending on the species of snail. For example, African land snails need more water than Asian ones. To check whether your snail requires more water, look at its body if it looks dry, then adds more water. It’s best to use distilled water because tap water contains chlorine, which can kill snails.

It’s also important to make sure the snail is properly hydrated. Hydration helps regulate their metabolism, thus helping them grow faster. And while snails are naturally moist, they can become dehydrated easily. Therefore, always provide fresh water whenever possible.

2.    Be Gentle When Handling the Snail

If you’ve never handled a snail before, you might find yourself thinking “I’m going to pinch him/her” right away. However, you must treat your snail gently at all times.  Just like humans, snails cannot tolerate being touched. Touching them with your hands or other objects can cause injury. In addition, touching them too often may lead to disease.

So, don’t grab the snail and start interacting with it unless you absolutely have to. Instead, slowly approach the snail and allow it to move around freely. Eventually, you’ll notice they won’t run away from you. Also, don’t try to scoop them into a container. They’ll likely escape through the opening. Just like us, snails don’t swim well.

3.    Don’t Cuddle or Touch the Snail

Snails have sensitive skin and mucous membranes, making them delicate creatures. Do not touch them with your bare hands. Even worse, don’t put anything made of metal near them. Metal tools can burn their skin and mucus membrane.

Don’t even think about picking up the snail and carrying it around either. Like cats and dogs, most snails prefer to go outside. While they’re out, they’ll chew on everything in sight. That includes plants, furniture, shoes, etc.

So, don’t let your pets inside your house. Also, avoid putting down anything edible near the snail cage, such as fruit or vegetables. They will consume them immediately.

4.    Cut Off Their Food Source

Since snails are herbivores, they rely heavily on food sources. Without food, they die quickly. Thus, the main goal of snail ownership is to provide the snail with healthy foods.

One way to do this is to cut off the food source. You can remove the algae from the tank using a net or a spoon. Some people choose to replace the algae with lettuce leaves since they’re less messy and easier to clean.

However, this method isn’t ideal. Removing the algae entirely would allow the snail to grow unchecked, which can result in a large population of snails living together. On top of that, removing the algae doesn’t solve the snail’s nutritional problems. Instead, consider adding a variety of different types of food to your snail’s diet. Generally, the snail’s favorite food is algae, but they also enjoy leaf mold, fruits, vegetables, and dried food.

5.    Clean up After the Snail

Once the snail grows bigger, it’ll poop everywhere. Since they don’t have a specific pooping area, you’ll need to clean up after them.

A great way to do this is to create a sloped surface in the glass terrarium. This allows the snail to release waste in a controlled manner. Alternatively, you can buy specialized snail cages that come with special features designed specifically for this purpose.

Besides having a designated toilet, it’s also essential to maintain proper humidity levels in the terrarium. High humidity encourages the growth of mildew and fungus, which can damage the snail’s health. Low humidity levels, however, can cause the snail’s shells to crack open.

6.    Keep the Snail in an Aquarium

To ensure that the snail gets sufficient light, you should install two fluorescent lights in the aquarium. One light should be directly above the aquarium, while another should hang slightly lower. Most snails prefer indirect lighting rather than direct sunlight.

Additionally, it’s also important to monitor the temperature of the aquarium. As mentioned earlier, high humidity levels can damage the snail’s shells. Keeping the temperature low can prevent this issue.

Finally, you should provide appropriate housing conditions. The best thing would be to give the snail a separate enclosure. A single-glass terrarium isn’t big enough for multiple snails.

7.    Give Them a Good Home

When choosing a habitat for your snail, it’s important to select something that’s comfortable for both the animal and yourself. Consider buying a snail aquarium kit or a prebuilt aquarium. These kits typically contain several items necessary for keeping snails happy and healthy.

After selecting a suitable environment, make sure to keep it clean. Use fresh water instead of saltwater. Saltwater causes salinity issues, which can harm your snail. Additionally, you should regularly change the gravel and sand.

In general, regular maintenance is required for keeping snails alive. Check the water level every day. Water that sits on the gravel can potentially suffocate the snail. Therefore, it’s recommended to drain the water once daily.

Another mistake that owners commonly make is overfeeding their snails. Remember, they eat very little. Giving them too much food can be fatal for the snail.


Remember, snails are slow-moving animals. So, if you’re planning on keeping them indoors, you should set up their habitat somewhere with a window. Otherwise, they’ll spend most of their lives hidden under rocks and dirt.

If you’re really interested in getting a snail, here’s a list of the best snail species available to purchase online.