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Giant West African Land Snail Care Guide

The Species: Giant West African Land Snails (Archachatina marginata) also known as Banana Rasp Snails are one of many Giant Land Snail species which have become common pets due to their ease of care. This species, as their name would suggest is native to West Africa inhabiting dense tropical forests however due to them being released from captivity, they have now become an invasive species within the USA. Unlike many other snail species, Giant African Land Snails require two partners to reproduce, unlike many other who can reproduce pathogenically. These animals can be housed individually or in social groupings however if housed together, it is important to keep an eye out for eggs as they are successful and rapid breeders.

Enclosure: This species is terrestrial however their enclosure should allow some height as they do enjoy to explore and climb. These animals should be housed in plastic rub with good ventilations such as a faunarium or in a glass terrarium. For hatchlings a small enclosure of no larger than 20x20x20cm, for juveniles, a larger enclosure can be provided of no larger than 30x30x30cm and as sub-adults/adults for a single individual or a pair, should be housed in a minimum size enclosure of 45x45x45cm, the more snails within the colony, the larger the enclosure should be.

Being a tropical species they need suitable substrate made from a soil based substrate, we would recommend Arcadia Earth Mix however other substrates are also appropriate ExoTerra Coco Husk or ProRep Bio Life Forest, we wouldn't generally using arid substrates such as sand or arid soils. They should be provided with a deep layer of substrate to give them the option to bury themselves.

Various decor and apparatus should be included to provide as natural of an enclosure as possible. Woods, rocks, caves and foliage are all suitable to use for this species along with a large enough small bowl for them to soak themselves in should be readily available as well.

Heating: These animals should be kept at a temperature range of 22-28 degrees celcius (72-82 degrees farenheight). They should be provided with a hot and cool end and with a basking spot to reach peak temperatures. Heating should be provided by a nano heat lamp or a heat mat on a thermostat, all heating should be on a 12 hour cycle, turning off at night to provide a natural drop in temperature.

Lighting: Snails don't require lighting such as UVB but providing them with a day/night sequence can help improve their wellbeing. This can be accomplished using UVB or LED lighting. All lighting should be on a 12 hour cycle.

Humidity: Being a species residing within tropical forests, Giant African Land Snails should have levels of humidity of approximately 80-90% and should ideally not raise above that. These humidity levels can be reached by spraying the enclosure daily with water or setting up a misting system.

Diet: Snails are primarily herbivores however they have been known to eat meats and other insects if given the option, to provide them with a suitable diet in captivity, we would recommend feeding them various vegetation such as leafy greens, salad greens, fruits and even peanuts. Do not feed your snails citrus fruits or anything containing salt as this is harmful to snails and other molluscs, foods to avoid would be vegetation with a low nutritional value such as cucumber or iceberg lettuce.

Water is also an extremely important aspect to an animals diet and constant water access should be provided in a water bowl and should be changed daily, we generally recommend RO water or mineral water due to tap water containing chlorine which can be harmful to some animals.

Supplementation: Snails don't require calcium supplements to be sprinkled on top of their food like many reptiles would, however it is important to provide them with additional calcium for them to eat away at as and when they choose to. We would recommend including a cuttlefish bone or a calcium block to their enclosure. Make sure if these are added to their enclosure that they have been bought from a pet shop and not acquired naturally as they can sometimes contain salt which can harm them. Many sources out there will tell you not to include cuttlefish bone to their enclosure because it contains salt, coming from the sea, however those sold in pet shops should all be treated to remove any harmful aspects such as salt or parasites making them completely safe to use.

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