Setting up an IMPROVED Giant Land Snail tank

I wrote a prior post about setting up a snail tank, just under a year ago, that gets a fair bit of traffic, so I thought I would write an updated version now that I have gotten a proper glass tank for Jupiter. The original post is more about snail-keeping from a DIY angle with plastic tubs, but it does include a list of essential supplies also.

As Jupiter got bigger (so much bigger in fact that it’s a bit of a shock seeing how tiny he is in the old photos!) he figured out how to push up the lid of his plastic box. Snails are notorious escape artists as it is, and I was worried that I would come down one morning to find he was either halfway up the wall or just nowhere in sight at all. Also, because my dog gets terrible Flea Allergy Dermatitis, we use a powerful spray on the house to prevent infestation, and this would almost definitely hurt Joop.

So whenever we heard the loud plastic popping sound of him pushing on his lid, we went over to intervene and get him down. Thankfully he never actually made an escape, but it became obvious I would finally have to get him a proper glass reptile tank.

Plenty of people’s snails do just fine being kept in appropriately adapted plastic storage tubs, but if you do want something more for your snail, or you want to start out with a tank straight away, hopefully my experience with one will be of some use to you.

 

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The tank I bought is this one from Reptiles-Planet. The version I got is the 62.5 x 45 x 45 version. It is clearly a more budget tank than those offered by companies like Exo-Terra, but I am satisfied with mine.

It arrived in quite a beat-up box but luckily, the components inside were all fine.

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Be prepared to make a polystyrene mess.
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Attaching the heat mat to a lower corner on the rear of the tank.
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Putting some radiator foil on top to help direct heat into the tank. It’s an old piece being reused, so it doesn’t cover the mat perfectly.
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And a piece of foil over the top.
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I’ve taped the cold-end thermometer, hot-end thermometer, and thermostat probe to the lid. I might decide to come up with a more fixed solution later.

This tank has a proper cable hole in the back, which is great because it means no lid edges are getting bent open and providing any leverage for a certain sneaky snail. I patched up the gaps around the wires by bending tape back on itself so that the sticky part wasn’t facing in to Joop, and then sticking more tape on top of that so there was no visible sticky part anywhere.

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After the lid goes on, there are nails to screw in. I could only actually get 2 of them to go in, but the frame seems solid enough without them.
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Jupiter in his travel box/ moving van!
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This is the substrate I use for Joop. For a while I bought solid blocks to expand in a bucket, but I had trouble getting it dry enough afterwards, so I just started buying this loose soil. On his old tank, I used a full 5 litre bag. Next time I clean out his new tank, I will use 10 litres to refill.

I don’t buy into the general “organicness” of things but this seems to be a safe substrate for snails. Things that are safe for humans are not necessarily safe for a snail, so I have to look past the marketing and make a decision about what I can give to him.

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Of course you don’t actually need to “beware” of him but it’s a fun sign and people won’t need to ask us what’s in the tank!

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Added furniture and food. Thankfully his current water dish is a bit bendy because it’s slightly wider than the door!
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He definitely can’t unlock that door!

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Moseying in the corner.
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Storm Miguel has made things very dark and dingy here at the moment, which has the knock-on effect of not being able to get good photos right now.

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It’s normal for him to explore the walls of his tank after he’s been in his travel box for cleaning or relocating. I haven’t seen him going all over the place yet, but he’s definitely done a bit of climbing and exploring.

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I don’t have any good photos of him blobbing about yet.
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He’s like a weird clam.

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His bum poking out of his hidey hut!

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This tank’s ventilation holes are quite large, they’ve been OK so far but if any flies or anything do get in, I’ll need to install the chiffon fabric I talked about in the original post.

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You can get this sign on Amazon for £2.99
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I can see him clear as day from my regular spot in the living room, I’m really pleased!

 

A few weeks ago now, I caught Joop doing something rather odd!!

Sometimes when I pick him up, he has quite literally hugged his poo underneath his body. He goes to bed with it and everything. I’m still not entirely sure why he does it, but, I do now have some insight into how it occurs in the first place.

 

I lifted his hidey hut to check on him, and I immediately noticed that he was pooing out of the hole on the side of his body, which in snails is also the breathing pore. Seems weird to poo out of the same hole that leads to your lungs, but whatever.

But there’s more.

He was gripping the poo string with his flaps and pulling the poo out of himself.

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Seriously.
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His bumhole.

I’m used to having seen garden snails poo as they’re going along, and it just drops off behind them. So to see Joop physically handling his own poo was really weird! But it certainly explains how he gets so much poo in his flaps, it’s not an accident. I had a quick Google and it just seems to be something that Giant African Land Snails do sometimes! What a strange babe.

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