top of page

Tropical Land Snails Species  .. 

6- Feed your giant snail leafy greens every day such as lettuce, cabbage and spinach. All vegetables should be washed to remove all traces of chemicals. Remove any food that hasn't been eaten within a day.


  • Snails need calcium. Provide a cuttlefish bone for an easy source of calcium for the snail.

  • They will need a shallow bowl of fresh water, but can drown if it is deeper than a few millimeters.

-  The Giant African Land Snails (Achatina sp.)



Giant African Land Snail – Achatina fulica


courtesy to :

Description :


The Giant African Land Snail is one of the largest of all the terrestrial species out there. It is very rare that you will come across one but if you do pay close attention to the very unique markings that they offer. They have a light to dark brown shells with vertical stripes of a darker shade of brown on them. The average adult shell has a conical shape and its length is 4 inches although exceptional individuals have reached up to inches 7 inches.


They can range in size from about 3 inches long to about 8 inches long. They have an average life span of about 5-7 years. When they have enough food and the weather is comfortable, they tend to live much longer. Some of them have been known to live up to 10 years. It is not easy to have them in captivity because people aren’t usually educated about the temperature and the moisture that they need.


The “Achatina fulica” is considered one of the most invasive species in the world and it is considered by the United States Department of Agriculture as one of the most damaging species for the agriculture and crops in the country. It is known to eat at least 500 different species of plants.



Anatomy :


A very important part of the anatomy of this snail is the tongue, which is called the radula. They have small spikes on the tongue that allow it to grab food easily. They are able to sense movement because they don’t have ears. They do have a very good sense of smell though.


They have very powerful foot muscles and this is what allows them to be able to move forward. They also release a slippery substance, a kind of mucus, as they move to help them move through rough materials without damage. Their movements are very slow which is where the saying moving at a snails pace comes in. They often blend in very well to their surroundings though which helps to make up for the fact that they can’t move very fast.


The shell is the location where the Giant African Land Snail takes refuge from predators. They will also spend time inside of their shells when the temperatures begin to dip too low at night for their comfort. While this shell is very hard, it can dry out if they don’t get enough moisture. There are several layers of this shell. Each one has its own process so that the outer shell can be strong. The shell will continue to grow as the snail does for almost one year, when you can guess how big the snail will be.


Behavior :


Besides the USDA, several state governments like Idaho, Georgia and Florida among others have listed this species as highly invasive and set controls to avoid their proliferation. The global invasive species database, have listed the Achatina fulica in the top 100 of their rank and associations like have made similar warnings.



Image Courtesy: Roberta Zimmerman, USDA APHIS,

The Giant African Land Snails don’t seem to interact with each other except for when they are going to mate. They don’t have any sounds and they spend their time moving, eating, and resting.


They are considered to be active between 9 C and 29 C degrees but they are able to survive above 2 C degrees by hibernating inside of the shell during the colder months. During this time, they are able to slow their bodies down enough that they don’t need to eat or to move during that period of time. They can remain inside of the shell for several months before they emerge again.


Sometimes, you will find that these snails may aestivate in the summer months as well. This is caused by drought conditions because their shell will dry out. They are able to keep it moist by creating a barrier with a thin layer of mucus that their bodies create.  In case of severe drought, they are able to aestivate up to three years.


Even so, many experts believe there has to be much more than meets the eye when it comes to these snails. Yet there hasn’t been very much in the way of research conducted on them. Many people would rather spend the time and money investigating other types of animals that seem to be more interesting to the public in general.

Habitat and Distribution :


As you may have guessed by the name, The Giant African Land Snail is found in Africa. The Achatina fulica is originally native of East Africa, from Mozambique in the south to Kenia and Somalia in the north. However, they have been introduced in recent years to several locations and seem to have adapted extremely well. These areas include the Caribbean and Pacific islands. They often end up in places where they shouldn’t though due to people transporting them, either as pet trade or inadvertently.


It may surprise you to learn that it is illegal to have one of them in the United States as a pet. This is because they are considered as one of the most invasive species in the world and they have produced great damage to crops in states like Florida, Georgia or Idaho.


While you may think it is no big deal, they can deposit a very large amount of eggs, up to 200 every time they deliver a batch of eggs, and this can happen in a short span of time. Then instead of having one Giant African Land Snail you will have many munching around. Some people turn them loose to get rid of them and that is were the real trouble starts. Instead you should contact your local animal shelter and they can come pick them up.


Diet and Feeding Habits :


These snails are herbivorous. They consume a wide variety of plants, fruits and vegetables. They also need calcium in order to ensure their shell stays very strong, so they will consume more of particular types of plants in order to get enough of the calcium they need. When they aren’t able to get enough calcium in their diet from plants, they may feed on bones from carcasses, sand or small stones to get it. They also consume small amounts of water that they can get from the food they consume as well.

Giant African Land Snail / Photo taken by Sonel.SA

Reproduction :


The Giant African Land Snail is categorized as a hermaphrodite. This means that they possess the reproduction organs for both males and females.


While you still will need to have two of them for successful breeding, they can take on either role in the process or get them both fertilized, depending mainly on the size difference between the mating couple. They don’t have a set breeding period and on average they lay 5-6 clutches of eggs per year, containing each one close to 200 eggs per clutch with the right conditions.


Delivering close to 1,200 eggs per year and with a hatch success probability of 90%, this species can quickly become a pest.

Predators :


It may surprise you to learn who the various predators are of the Giant African Land Snail. They include the caterpillar, ground beetles, other species of snails, and many types of vertebrates.


In Africa, the Giant African Land Snail is considered to be a very delicious source of food. It is nutritional in value and in many areas it is also very expensive. Many villagers will harvest these snails in order to either eat them themselves or to sell them to make money. It is important to note that this particular type of snail has been associated with different types of parasites. The failure to cook them completely can result in humans becoming very ill called meningitis.


Most humans don’t realize how delicate the protective shell of a Giant African Land Snail can be. When a person is holding one it can dry out faster. One way to prevent that is to wet your hands before picking one up to closely examine it. Failure to do so can result in the shells drying up and then these snails don’t have any way to protect their bodies.


Since they also feed on plant life, the use of pesticides is a common cause of death for the Giant African Land Snail. In most areas they are considered to be nothing more than destructive pests. They can affect the quality of foods being grown so preventing them from being in the area often takes drastic measures.



Some Videos : 

How To Care For Giant African Land Snails

Set Up Of Komodo Giant African Land Snail Tank...

How to Care for Giant African Land Snails


courtesy to

Giant African Land Snails are native to East Africa. They grow to 25 centimeter (9.8 in) / 10" in length. In countries where they can be legally kept, they can make good pets, as they are relatively low maintenance and fascinating to watch. Even though they're apparently slow, they can move quite fast. So without further ado here are the 8 steps to looking after giant African land snails.


Steps : 

1-Keep your snail in a well-ventilated glass or plastic tank. Ensure that it has a secure lid. One snail needs a tank about 40 centimeter (15.7 in) by 25 centimeter (9.8 in) by 25 centimeter (9.8 in) / 16" x 10" x 10".

2- 'Fit a heat mat with a thermostat and thermometer at the back of the tank to check the temperature is kept at about 25ºC / 77ºF.' Placing the heat mat is optional though.


  • Place a thermostat sensor over the heat source.

3- Line the floor with a thick layer of substrate. Use plain topsoil from a garden centre rather than compost which can contain added fertilizers harmful to snails, and avoid coir or bark which can hold mould. Do not use topsoil you have collected yourself as this can be contaminated with pesticides and fertilizers, as well as a range of bacteria and pathogens.

4- Spray the tank every other day with warm water to maintain the level of humidity at 60-70%. This can be checked with a hygrometer.

5- Handle with care. :


  • Snails should be picked up gently by their shells. It is best to pick them off the floor rather than when they are stuck tightly to the glass.

  • Snails don't mind being handled but make sure your hands are clean and damp, as sweat or chemicals are easily absorbed by your snail, and can be harmful.

You may find that you need to humanely dispose of the young. If this is the case it is best to do it when they haven’t hatched. The best way is to boil, freeze or crush the eggs. I have heard of people popping the eggs as well. When you throw these eggs away after this process make sure that there is no possible chance that they could still hatch as it is illegal for them to be released into the environment, even if it was not intentional.


When cleaning out the tank or vivarium, check the substrate for any eggs. A common way for these snails being released into the environment is that their bedding is being thrown away, without the owners knowing there are eggs in the substrate.


If you are keeping the baby snails and are going to breed them properly, it is best to remove the adults from the eggs and the babies as they could accidentally hurt them.


To stop your snails breeding you will need to separate them; be aware that they may still lay clutches of eggs after up to a year of separation as they don’t lay the eggs until they feel the environment is right for them.

7- Clean the tank of snail trails and change the substrate every week. Wash the tank only with warm water as detergents may be harmful.

8- Keep your snail healthy. Your snail should have few health problems if kept in the right conditions. It is critical that it is not exposed to any chemicals around the home. If the environment is too hot, cold or dry, your snail will hide and become inactive, and a membrane may form over the aperture of the shell. A healthy snail has a clean, unbroken shell, and no unusual lumps or patches on its body.

9-Make sure they have a cuttle fish bone to give them calcimine to help develop their shells.

Tips :


  • Females are hermaphrodites, meaning that they possess both male and female reproductive organs and are able to fertilize each other - which can result in up to 300 eggs being laid at a time by each snail.

  • If you miss any eggs and they subsequently hatch, any young must then be carefully moved into a secure tank away from the adult snails, which could easily crush them. Young snails are too small to handle and instead they should be left to crawl on to a lettuce leaf which can then be moved into a suitable sized tank. Water bowls should not be provided for young snails, as they can easily drown.

  • Most snails like to burrow before laying their eggs, so it is necessary to thoroughly check their tank for eggs at least every 3 days. If you do not want the eggs to hatch, then they must be disposed of responsibly; simply throwing them away is illegal. It is recommended that you freeze all eggs for 48 hours before disposing of them.

  • Snails can continue to lay eggs for up to several years after a single mating.

  • Check for eggs.

  • Gals (giant African land snails) love cucumber and gals love and need a cuttle fish bone in their tank for calcimine.

  • They tend to make a 4 centimeter (1.6 in) hole before laying eggs so always look carefully and do not touch the eggs if in any emergency to move them use a small spoon and carefully move them.

  • Cucumber has almost no nutritional value for giant African land snails; sweet potato is a much better choice, for babies try grating it.



Warnings :


  • Don't leave moldy food in the tank.

  • Do not feed the snail iceberg lettuce as it will not contain enough nutrients and sustenance.

  • Before handling you should make your hands damp to help them move around and so they don't absorb your sweat, which could make them ill or could kill them

  • Keep the tank away from direct sunlight, radiators, draughts and chemicals such as fly sprays.

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

  • Wash veg with warm water to get rid of chemicals which can kill your snails

  • When picking up the snail by its shell, make sure you don't harm it. If it doesn't let go, leave the snail where it is.

  • Be careful when feeding spinach- there has been some evidence to suggest that large amounts can inhibit calcium uptake, which is necessary for healthy shell growth. Only feed in small amounts.

  • Check local regulations before obtaining this snail as a pet. Giant African Land Snails are illegal in the United States and Canada. 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



Keeping Giant African Snails as pets


courtesy to :

Housing your snails :


Giant African Snails need an enclosure that is at least 3 times the lenght of the snail in width and in depth. The height should be enough to have the snail be able to walk without touching the lid. The enclosure should be ventilated but they do not need a big ventilated cover or something like that. They like their environment humid.
On the bottom of the enclosure you need to put soil. You can get some soil from the garden or you can use potting soil. Keep this soil moist, but not too wet (you should not see mud!). Sometimes the food will add a lot of water to the enclosure. If the soil gets too wet you should increase the ventilation of the tank.

This is the enclosure of some young Giant African Snails.

Temperature :


African landsnails need a temperature of 19 to 26 °C. They can also be kept cooler but this will seriously delay growth and reproduction and can sometimes be bad for their health. In the night it is okay to let the temperatures drop.


Food and feeding Giant snails :


This species of landsnail eats all kinds of raw vegetables and fruits; carrot, potato, leek, cellery, pumpkin, apple, tomato, cucumber, aubergine, mellon and many more.
You can just place the foods on top of the soil in the enclosure of the snails. They will eat it very soon! Do not feed them more than they can eat in about two days, otherwise the food will go bad and smell.


Calcium for development of the shell


Giant African Snails need calcium to form their shell. If you do not feed them extra calcium they will try to eat each others shell and they will develop very brittle shells.
You can feed your snails calcium by giving them a sepia. This is the shell of a cuttlefish that is sold as calcium for birds. The snails will eat from this according to their individual needs. Be prepared to feed them a lot of this! You can also buy powdered calcium and put this over their fruit and vegetables.


Breeding with Giant African Snails


It is very easy to breed Giant African Snails. Once they are adult they will breed automatically! These snails are hermaphrodites. This means they are both male and female! You do need two snails to mate and fertilized each other. Both will produce eggs.
The eggs are buried in the soil. They are quite big and yellow greenish in color. If you leave them in the soil they will hatch without any problems. The amount of eggs a snail produces is enormous, around the hundreds per month. You cannot take care of all these little baby snails. Therefore it is best if you make sure that not all eggs hatch, by drying them out or freezing them. It may seem harsh, but not being able to take care of young snails is much worse. You absolutely can not release these snails into nature. These snails are considered invasive species and are even illegal to keep in some countries because they are becoming pests. Releasing these snails into nature will cause a lot of damage to nature!

african giant land snail breeding :


- Article one :  


Breeding Giant African Land Snails



Many people get interested in molluscs by keeping giant African land snails. If you keep more than one giant land snail then you are likely to become a giant land snail breeder, whether you like it or not!


Giant African land snails are hermaphrodites, (each snail contains male and female parts), so any two snails are likely to start breeding. There have been some rare-cases of self-fertilisation although this is a very rare occurrence.


Different giant land snail species breed at different rates. The tiger snail (Achatina Achatina) is believed to have a three-year breeding cycle, whereas the common giant African land snail (Achatina Fulica) can breed up to six times a year.

Different species of giant African land snail are able to breed at different ages. Achatina Achatina are sexually mature at around 22 months, whereas it can only take 5 months for Achatina Fulica.


In general Achatina species lay the most amount of eggs, with up to 400 a time (though not all of them are likely to hatch). Due to both the snails being hermaphrodites, each snail is likely to lay fertilised eggs. These eggs are very small, around 5mm in length.

Archachatina species on the other hand lay far less eggs at around 6-30 per litter. The size of these eggs are considerably bigger than Achatina species eggs, being around 8mm.


Similarly different species of giant land snail will take different amounts of time to hatch. Typically the eggs will hatch after 3-6 weeks however there are some species such as the Achatina immaculata which have hatched after 9 days in some cases.


There is one species,  Achatina iradelei, which doesn’t lay eggs at all but gives birth to live young.


Giant african land snails are exceptionally easy to breed, and in some cases can cause problems due to the vast amounts of young that owners end up with. Suitable homes will have to be found for all the babies. Remember it is illegal to release any giant African land snails or their eggs into the wild due to their their invasive nature.


Before you breed them decide what you will do with the babies; there are a few possibilities:

  • Breed them for your local pet shop or garden centre to sell. If you do this, make sure the shop in question agrees to it.

  • Sell them to your friends. This isn’t a long term solution though.

  • Sell them on the Internet; this is risky though as you won’t know who your selling to and the snails may have to go in the post.

  • Breed them for reptile food. You could sell or give this to reptile centres.

  • Humanely dispose of them.



Achatina albopicta

- Article Two :

Breeding Achatina achatina


courtesy to  : 


This page tells you about my experience with the breeding of Achatina achatina.I'm not an expert,just somebody who was lucky enough to get 3 batches of eggs. I haven't seen my Achatina's mate,so can't tell you how long it takes from mating till egg laying. The tank they are in is 50 x 37 x 37 cm,made out of plastic sheets.The lid is a plastic sheet as well,ofcourse with air holes.This enclosed environment keeps the tank moist and the temperature stays pretty high(24 degrees Celsius). The soil is ordinary potting compost in a layer of 4 cm deep.I realize this is not deep enough,but the results show that this is not always necessary. The snails are being fed with a wide variety of food:apple,lettuce,carrot, courgette,aubergine,ofcourse there is always plenty of cuttlefish bone available. When my snails starting to lay their eggs,they didn't move much for a few days,just stayed out of their shell. Then the snail started to dig a hole and laid its eggs.This takes a long time,about 4 hours for one of my Tigers.They laid about 100 eggs in one batch,but ofcourse this is variable.





The eggs are about 8 mm in size,white or yellowish. You can either leave them in the tank of the parents or put them i n a seperate tank.I did both and they all hatched perfectly. At a temperature of 24 degrees the eggs started hatching after 20 days.Another batch hatched after 23 days.The young snails will eat the eggshells first and stay burrowed for up to a week. The first few weeks you can leave them in with the parents,the shells are quite fragile and handling them could cause damage. When they are big enough,say 1 cm or half an inch shellsize,you can put them in a tank of their own.The young snails need plenty of calcium ofcourse and must not dry out.I feed them on cucumber and lettuce,but you can give them the some food as the parents.

- Breeding Videos : 

Giant African Snail laying eggs

Achatina Fulica newborns babies from eggs. Giant african land snail

Mating of African Giant Snail (Achatina fulica)

My Pet The Giant Snail

Other Achatina species : 

courtesy to


Species within the genus Achatina include :


  • Achatina achatina Linnaeus, 1758 or giant African snail, Agate Snail or Ghana Tiger Snail, from Western Africa (Liberia through Nigeria) grows to be the largest land snail on Earth.

  • Achatina albopicta E. A. Smith,1878 - along the coast of Kenya and Tanzania.

  • Achatina allisa Reeve, 1849

  • Achatina balteata Reeve, 1849 - Cameroon to Central Angola.

  • Achatina craveni E. A. Smith, 1881 - Congo, Tanzania.

  • Achatina dammarensis Pfeiffer - Botswana

  • Achatina fulgurata Pfeiffer, 1853 - Senegal

  • subgenus Lissachatina, Achatina fulica Bowdich, 1822 or giant East African snail from Eastern Africa is a serious pest in the many tropical countries where it has been introduced, and is listed as an invasive species by some governments.

    • Achatina fulica rodatzi Dunker, 1852

    • Achatina fulica sinistrosa Grateloup, 1840

    • Achatina fulica umbilicata Nevill, 1879

  • Achatina glutinosa Pfeiffer, 1854 - Mozambique

  • Achatina immaculata Lamarck, 1822 - Southeastern Africa

  • Achatina iostoma Pfeiffer,1852 - Cameroon.

  • Achatina iredalei Preston, 1910

  • Achatina marginata Swainson, 1821[3]

  • Achatina monochromatica Pilsbry (Deprecated. Old historical synonym of Achatina achatina var.monochromatic)

  • Achatina mulanjensis Crowley & Pain - Malawi

  • Achatina nyikaensis Pilsbry, 1909 - Malawi

  • Achatina panthera Férussac, 1832 - Zimbabwe, Mauritius. (Deprecated: Old Synonym of Achatina immaculata)

  • Achatina passargei von Martens - Botswana

  • Achatina reticulata Pfeiffer, 1845 - Zanzibar.

  • Achatina schweinfurthi von Martens, 1873 - East Africa.

  • Achatina schinziana Bousson - Botswana

  • Achatina semisculpta Pfeiffer, 1845 - East Africa

  • Achatina smithii

  • Achatina stuhlmanni von Martens, 1892 - Uganda.

  • Achatina sylvatica Putzeys, 1898 - Congo

  • Achatina tavaresiana Morelet, 1866 - Angola

  • Achatina tincta Reeve, 1842 - Congo, Angola

  • Achatina tracheia Connolly, 1929 - Southeast Africa

  • Achatina varicosa Pfeiffer, 1845 - South Africa.

  • Achatina variegata Roissy

  • Achatina vignoniana Morelet, 1874

  • Achatina weynsi Dautzenberg, 1891 - Congo

  • Achatina zanzibarica Bourguignat - Tanzania.

  • Achatina zebra Bruguiere, 1792 - South Africa.

incertae sedis:

  • Achatina vassei Germain, 1918 - The internal anatomy of this species is not known, and therefore the generic classification of ‘Achatina’ vassei cannot be made.[4]

Species brought into synonymuy

  • Achatina gundlachi L. Pfeiffer, 1850: synonym of Geostilbia gundlachi (L. Pfeiffer, 1850)



Achatina glutinosa

Achatina immaculata immaculata

Achatina immaculata panthera

Achatina reticulata

Achatina tincta

Achatina varicosa

Achatina iredalei

Achatina zebra

Further Reading :





How to Care for Your Giant African Land Snail (Your first...series) 

by Lucie Mann

LAND SNAILS   ...  Introduction 


LAND SNAILS   ...  Care 


LAND SNAILS  ....   Species   1 .... 2 ... 3 .... 4 .... 5  


Slug    ....   1  ..  2  



LAND SNAILS   ...  Introduction 


LAND SNAILS   ...  Care 


LAND SNAILS  ....   Species   1 .... 2 ... 3 .... 4 .... 5  


Slug    ....   1  ..  2  



Due to the large quantity of land snails species and the new yearly discoveries we will shortlisted the famous and most colorful and strange shape of these creatures . yet this hobby is challenging  for the most of hobbyists .. 

bottom of page