How to Feed a Snail

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8-12-2017, 14:00
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Snails can be great pets. They are especially great for school projects, and for teaching young children how to care for a living thing. Snails are also quite easy to feed, although there are some variations among different snail species. Whether you’ll be caring for land snails, freshwater snails, or both, you can provide a delicious diet that will nourish your pet snails.

Feeding Land Snails

  1. Select fruit, vegetables, seeds, and grains that are safe for snails. Land snails enjoy eating a wide variety of foods, mainly fresh produce. In a pinch, land snails also like to eat tortoise food that has been soaked in water. However, the bulk of your snail’s diet should come for fruits and veggies, as well some seeds and cooked grains. The following foods are safe for snails:
    • Fruits: apples, apricot, grapes, kiwi, mango, melon, nectarine, raspberry, strawberry.
    • Veggies: cucumber, mushroom, tomato, lettuce, broccoli, green beans, peas, sprouts, sweet corn, turnip, watercress.
    • Seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
    • Cooked grains: oats, rice.
  2. Chop or shred produce into pieces smaller than a dime. Use a vegetable shredder or kitchen knife to chop all produce before you feed it to your snails. Snails are sensitive to chemicals and pesticides, so be sure you use organic produce, and to wash it well before feeding it to your snail.
  3. Start by providing 0.25 cups (59 ml) of food each day. There is not hard and fast rule about how much food a land snail should eat, and you'll have to figure out how much food your snail needs over time. If your snail is consuming all of the food you're providing, you can offer more. Remove any food that isn’t consumed within 24 hours.
  4. Avoid processed foods, and foods that are hard for snails to digest. Don't give your snail snack foods, or foods that contain sugar or salt. Snails also have trouble digesting millet, pasta, crackers, and bread.
  5. Fill a water dish with spring water. You do not need to provide snails with water to drink, but you do need to make sure their environment is humid enough. Place a shallow dish filled with spring water for your snail to bathe in. Replace the water every 1-2 days.
    • Never use tap water or faucet water, since these water sources may contain chlorine that's harmful to snails.
    • If you don't have access to filtered water, you can leave tap water out in the sun for 48 hours to remove chemicals.
  6. Spray your snails with spring water every 1-2 days. You can also help your snail to stay hydrated by misting them with water. Fill a spray bottle with spring or filtered water, and mist your snail and their habitat.
    • If you live in a very dry climate, try misting your snail 1-2 times per day.
  7. Keep a calcium source in the tank at all times. Snails need a lot of calcium in order to keep their shells healthy. A great option is cuttlebone, because you can simply place it in the tank for your snail to nibble on. Other calcium sources should be crushed and added to your snail’s food. Other calcium sources include:
    • Shells from dead snails
    • Calcium powder
    • Powdered oyster shells
    • Natural chalk
    • Natural limestone
    • Bone meal
    • Wood ash

Feeding Freshwater Snails

  1. House freshwater snails with fish. Freshwater snails are omnivores, and they typically subsist off of the algae and food debris in a fish aquarium. Include aquatic plants for your snails to graze on as well.
    • Check with your vet or a clerk at your local pet store to find out which types of fish live best alongside your species of freshwater snails.
  2. Provide algae disks. If you don’t have fish in the same aquarium as your snails, you can purchase small algae discs. Follow the instructions on the packaging, and provide the right number of disks for the number of snails in your tank.
    • Algae discs are readily available online or at most pet stores.
  3. Offer blanched vegetables that have been shredded into very small pieces. In addition to algae, freshwater snails enjoy a diet of blanched vegetables. Blanching involves dipping veggies into boiling water for 2 minutes before dunking them in ice water. Freshwater snails especially like to eat shelled peas, carrots, cucumber, zucchini and iceberg lettuce. Allow the blanched vegetables to cool completely, then add them to your aquarium.
    • Chop or shred add vegetables into pieces smaller than a time.
    • Begin by adding a small amount of blanched veggies each morning, and gauge how quickly your snails can finish them.
    • Add a bit more or less until you notice that all of the food is being eaten in 12 hours or less.
    • Remove uneaten produce after 24 hours.
  4. Provide an additional calcium source for your freshwater snails. Just like land snails, freshwater snails require calcium to keep their shells healthy and strong. Provide a calcium source that your snails can nibble on, as a supplement to your snails' diet. Some sources of calcium for freshwater snails include:
    • Cuttlebone
    • Shells from dead snails
    • Oyster shells
    • Natural limestone
  5. Get advice about your snail’s diet from a clerk, expert, or vet. How much, how often, and what you feed your snails will vary based on their species, the number of snails in your tank, and what other aquatic life shares the aquarium with your snails. The best course of action is to speak to someone at the place where you purchased the snails, or consult a vet.
    • You may still need to do a bit of trial and error to figure out exactly what your snails like.
    • If your snails are leaving a lot of food behind, try providing a little bit less food, or experimenting with different food choices.
    • A good starting place is to feed aquatic snails as much food as they can consume in about 3 minutes, twice daily.
    • Some snail species may need additional food sources, such as fish food or bottom feeder tablets.
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