Giant African Landsnail (Achatina fulica)

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Giant African Landsnail
Achatina fulica
Giant African Landsnail (Achatina fulica)
Name Giant African Landsnail
Name Lat. Achatina fulica
Family Giant African Land Snails
Family lat. Achatinidae
Order Land Snails
Order lat. Stylommatophora
Origin Eastern Africa
Habitat Forest, savanna
Diet Fruits, veggies, wet cat food, calcium
Humidity 70-80 %
Behavior Nocturnal
Keeping Group
Care Level Easy
Housing Humid terrarium
Breeding Simple
Life Span 3-7 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 15-18 cm
Temperature Day 22-24 °C
Temperature Night 20-22 °C
Housing Size 80 x 40 x 40 cm
US Units
Size 6"-7"
Temperature Day 72-75 °F
Temperature Night 68-72 °F
Housing Size 30" x 15" x 15"

Distribution and habitat

Predominantly crepuscular and nocturnal, East African agate snails are widespread in East Africa, the Seychelles and Mauritius. They live in ever-humid savannas, sparse forests, and cultivated lands, where they are considered crop pests. They have been introduced into the Americas, Southeast Asia and some Pacific islands.


A terrarium of at least 80 x 40 x 40 cm (L x W x H) for 2-6 animals is recommended. They should be kept at least in pairs, but better in a group. The terrarium should be placed in a quiet place without sunlight.

They need a terrarium with a substrate of terrarium humus mixed with lime soil, at least 10-15 cm deep, suitable for digging and covered with a layer of leaves, so that the pH is 7-8. The substrate must always be kept slightly moist. Hidden resting places should be created with strong branches and trunks suitable for crawling, as well as cork tubes. For drinking they need a sufficiently large, shallow water bowl, which is also suitable for bathing. Potted plants (e.g. bamboo, ficus, philodendron, ferns) are advantageous for decoration, as they can be easily removed during cleaning. Daily, the interior of the terrarium should be finely sprayed with water (humidity), but a rain or mist system is better.

Temp. day: 22-24 °C Temp. night: 20-22 °C Humidity: 70-80

A thermostatically controlled floor heating or heating mat is recommended. The lighting duration should be 8-12 hours depending on the season. Special lamps with high UV content are not necessary.


The food supply consists of bananas, apples, pears, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, wild herbs, boiled potatoes, eggplants and oatmeal, but also cat and dog canned food and turtle pellets are readily accepted. It is especially important to add calcium, which is essential for building the shell of the snail, such as cuttlebone or a lime preparation. It is recommended to prepare a lime paste by mixing calcium (e.g. crushed cuttlebone) with crushed fruit and curd or yogurt. The food should be offered on several flat, easy-to-clean plastic plates. Drinking water should be offered fresh daily.

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

They are hermaphrodites. During mating, they act either as males or females. Self-fertilization is also possible.

Under optimal conditions, breeding is very easy. The clutch, 300-500 eggs, is buried in soft, moist soil. At 25-26 °C air temperature the young snails hatch after 14-18 days. They grow very fast and are already about 3 cm high after 4 weeks.

If you do not want to multiply the snails or control the stock, you should look for and remove the 4-5 mm large white-yellow eggs in the substrate every week. They are sexually mature after 7 months with a shell height of about 7 cm and are fully grown after 13-14 months.


The coloration and patterning of the shell is highly variable, ranging from brown to horn-colored with numerous stripes or checkered pattern.

If kept too dry, the snails bury themselves in the substrate

Acidic fruits should only be fed in a controlled manner and the remains removed immediately, as the fruit acid can attack the snail shell.

Stones must not be used for decoration, as the animals, which occasionally fall from the branches, can injure themselves on them and damage their shells.

Once a week, substrate should be loosened and any clutches should be searched for. It is recommended to replace the upper substrate layer once a month.

Good ventilation without drafts is necessary, as well as equipment for measuring temperature and humidity. The lighting has to correspond to the species-appropriate day-night rhythm and has to be installed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves

The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Special attention should be paid to thorough hygiene and impurities should be removed regularly. Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Serena Werle; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: HENKEL & SCHMIDT (2010): Taschenatlas Wirbellose für das Terrarium, Verlag Ulmer; ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch