How often should I check my snails tank for eggs?
We recommend that owners thoroughly check for eggs at least once every three days. In order to check thoroughly, you must remove all of the snails and any accessories from the tank and check through all of the soil, inch by inch, for any signs of eggs. When you find eggs, they will be laid in a clutch, so be careful not to disturb them and mix them in with the soil. Carefully remove the eggs using a teaspoon and then continue to check through the rest of the soil for any other clutches. Check through the soil again a second time, to ensure that not a single egg has been missed.
Once you have retrieved all of the eggs, put them in a secure tub and put them in the freezer for 48 hours, they can then be thrown away. The eggs must be disposed of responsibly; simply throwing them away is illegal.
I want to breed my snails, what would you recommend I do?
There are a huge number of unwanted snails looking for good homes and so we do not recommend or encourage breeding them intentionally. Each month we are asked to take in up to 2,000 individual snails, a number mostly made up by missed eggs that have hatched. When you think that all these snails and many more are all in need of good homes, you can see that breeding is irresponsible and the need to regularly check for, and correctly dispose of, eggs is absolutely essential.
I missed a clutch of eggs, what should I do?
If you do miss any eggs and they subsequently hatch, any young must be carefully moved into a secure tank (ideally a small plastic aquarium with a secure, ventilated lid) away from the adult snails, who could easily crush them. Young snails also have a very high calcium requirement and when left in the same tank as adult snails, they may feed on the shell of the larger snails with the potential to cause extensive damage.
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.
I have lots of baby snails I want to rehome, what should I do?
Unfortunately,there is an extremely high number of unwanted giant African land snails within the UK and so they can be difficult to find good homes for. Preloved http://www.preloved.co.uk/ is a good website for finding homes for animals, so it would be worth advertising the babies on there. There are some people who use snails as live feed for reptiles, so please be very careful when vetting responses.
Snails should be rehomed in pairs, not singularly, as they are gregarious animals. While they are easy to house as a group when they are young, 3 adult snails require a 3ftx1.5ft tank, which very few people are able to provide, so it is best not to home them in groups. Provide a care sheet with any snails that you rehome and ensure that any new owners know how frequently they must check for eggs and that snails can live for over ten years and reach up to 1ft in length. Please feel free to pass on our details to anyone who is interested in taking on a snail from you and would like advice or information on them.
Please do not send snails by post. This is extremely stressful for the snails, there is a significant risk of injury to them and it is possible for parcels containing snails to be lost in the post.
You can also try contacting animal sanctuaries within your area to see if they are able to take some of the babies in for you. Both Cat Chat http://www.catchat.org/and Animal Rescuers http://www.animalrescuers.co.uk/ have comprehensive lists of animal sanctuaries. It is unlikely that one sanctuary may be able to take them all in but you could try asking several if they could each take a smaller number. Your local branch of the RSPCA would also be a good place to try.
Can you take in my snails?
Unfortunately, probably not. Each month we are asked to take in up to 2,000 individual snails and as a private, self-funded rescue we regret that we are not able to take in all of these animals. We are available to provide help and support however, so please do contact us if you have any questions or would like advice.
If you have a special needs snail please contact us, as for individual snails with specific needs we may be able to help.