Most people encounter snails in their garden, back yard or around their house. But the amazing truth is that snails live all over the world. They are found in each one of the five continents. There are even species that lives in the Antarctic Ocean.
There are thousands of different species across the globe. They are usually being categorized in three main groups: Land snails (terrestrial snails), freshwater and saltwater.
Most land snails will prefer to live in a warm and humid environment with plenty of food. However, there are snail types that live in the different deserts across the world, like the Middle East and Africa. There are also species that place their habitat in cold, dry and high mountains.
Species of snails adapted over the course of evolution to their surroundings. This means that a snail that lives in the desert will have a thicker shell to protect it than the common garden snail. That is one of the benefits of having your house on your back. A snail without a shell is basically known as a slug.
Types of Snail Habitats According to Their Species
As said, snails have many places to live in, thanks to their endless ability to adapt to all environments. The ideal yardstick for grouping their habitats will therefore be by the commonest species.
The Garden Snail Habitat
Technically called the Helix aspersa, the garden snail is probably the most famous of land snails. This is the guy you often find munching on vegetables and drawing trails across your garden. This species is a Mediterranean native, but it is found all over the world regardless.
Studies say that they have spread worldwide by hiding in vegetable or plant produce while they are transported. Garden snails prefer a temperate climate. This explains why it enjoys the garden, meadows, farmland, forest, or just about where it can glide across vegetation and greenery. This is the best species of critters to cultivate in your garden habitat.
Giant African Land Snail Habitat
The Giant African Land snail is a large species. You can identify them by their light brown shells that have darker stripes running across. Originally, this species is a native of few African countries. Over time, it has been deliberately introduced to other parts of the world. It can now be found in every continent except Antarctica.
The giant African species enjoys hot, humid climates. Its commonest habitats include the edge of forests, riverbanks, streams, wetlands, shrubs, gardens and some urban places. It has adapted remarkably and in fact became considered as an invasive species. His large size and adapting mechanism made it possible for it to find food that human grow as crops and consume it.
This snail has other coping mechanisms. In the absence of water, it retires into its shell for preservation of its body water. Predators also have to deal with its large shell. Any animal that comes after it will find it difficult to come out victorious.
Roman Snail Habitat
The Roman snail is also a land snail. It remains one of the most widely distributed species. It is available all over Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa & Oceania.
They appreciates places with low sunlight level, high humidity level and mild temperature. Typically, it lives about 2000 meters above sea level. They are often found in temperate forests, bushes, vineyards and edges in regions where there is abundant of rain.
They can also live in less than ideal locations, courtesy of their adaptability. In the cold season, they hibernate. They do this by digging a hole, making their way inside and sealing the entrance with mucus. This regulates the body temp and protects them from predators.
How To Make a Garden Snail Habitat in 7 Steps
Rearing garden snails is an easy process. They do not cost much to maintain and have no problem with being handled. They live for about five years in the wild but can go up to as much as 20 years with care. There is very little effort involves in keep a snail pet, especially comparing to other pets like dogs, cats, etc.
You can obviously buy a terrarium from a pet store but it is really easy to build your own snail habitat with those 7 steps:
- Find a clear box that can be completely closed. The box can be made out of plastic or glass. The size of the terrarium depends on how many snails you are planning to have. Generally speaking, a 5 gallons tank is more than enough for two snails. If you would like to have more, select one that is 10 gallons or higher. A larger container will also be suitable if you want your snail to reproduce.
- Make sure the top of the box has holes that will allow ventilation and the air can come in and out. At the same time, verify the holes are not big enough so they cannot leave the box. You might think they are slow, but they can escape quite quickly
- Unless you are planning to leave the habitat you created in extreme weather conditions, you don’t need to have heating for it.
- Put a layer of dirt on the bottom of the habitat. Any kind will do just fine. However, you need to make sure the dirt is clear of pesticide or chemicals that can harm them.
- Snails like to have fun and explore. Throw around the terrarium some leaves, branches, pieces of bark, rocks or anything else they might enjoy climbing on.
- Throw some pieces of snail food inside the box.
- Put the snail in and enjoy watching it explore.
Maintenance of Your Homemade Snail Habitat
Maintaining the habitat is a simple task. There are only a few tasks you need to do to make sure your it has a great time in its new home.
- Feed it every 1-3 days
- Rotten, decaying food leftovers should be thrown away
- Spray it with a clean water once or twice a day to keep the humidity high
- Keep it out of direct sun light and extreme weather condition
If you are interested in taking your snail DIY habitat to another level, you can try growing a small garden in the terrarium. That way they will always have a constant supply of fresh food.
Kevin is one of the co-founders of Escargot World. Kevin took an interested with small animals and pets ever since he was a little kid growing up in Boston MA. Although his life took him on a technology path with an engineering degree, Kevin always found ways to pursue his passion and love for snails. So, Escargot World was born.