Breeding Giant African Land Snails for food

Dietary information

Giant African Land Snails are a great treat to feed your hedgehog on occasion. They are really easy to get your hands on as they are quite popular pets in many countries and most owners are willing to donate their runts for feeder breeders so they still serve a purpose. GALS, for short, are easy to breed if you have the Achatina fulica species and they are very nutricious.

Housing

Most species are good to keep at around 40x40x40 cm, but bigger is always better and a bigger viv will not have any consequence to your breeding. Som species ike Achatina fulic are good to keep on house temperature as long as it won’t come below 17 degrees Celcius (63 degrees Fahrenheit). As a substrate, they’ll need a soil (Cocopeat for example) of at least 10 cm deep so they can bury into the ground to sleep and to lay their eggs. You can use a variety of plants, wood and plastic to decorate the viv. Avoid hard stones and ceramics because it can damage the shells if they fall from the lid of the viv. A few drilled holes in the lid is enough ventilation for most species.

Food

Most snail species are herbivores, but they do like some animal matter from time to time. Their main diet therefore would be a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. You can use your regular hedgehog snacklist to see what they can have, it’s about the same. Boil hard vegetables, but there’s no need to boil everything. When feeding animal matter you can think of dried mealworms, dried shrimps, cat kibble or on occasion a small amount of wet cat food or a boiled egg.

Also make sure to feed lots of fruits and vegetables that contain water, so the snails get plenty of moisture. You also can spray their viv so they can drink off the windows and decoration of the viv. This will also add to the humidity of the viv. Snails have a high water percentage in their boy and they need it to make the slimey substance they leave when ‘walking’.

Last but not least, snails make their eggs and their shells from calcium. They need a lot of it to continue to grow and produce offspring, so make sure you offer plenty! Having a piece of sepia (for birds) in their viv is a pre, so they have unlimited access to a source of calcium. You can sprinkle a calcium mixture on their food as well, but if you feed sepia, it’s often not mandatory.

Breeding

For a steady breeding, you only need 2 adult snails. They can reproduce by mating with eachother, as snails are hermaphrodites. After mating, they can lay up to 200 eggs per cluster and they can store sperm for a lifetime. If a snail ever begins to lay eggs, there’s often no stopping it until they die. However, snails are very social animals so it’s not adviced to house them alone.

In most clusters, almost every egg will hatch. Prepare for a BIG babyboom once breeding. If you have too many clusters, you can easily crush the eggs and throw them away. Do NOT put them in your freezer to die, this is a very sow and very painful death. Another option is asking someone else if they are interested: with a growing interest in GALS in animal diet, especially in reptiles and insect eating exotics, you are bound to find someone who wants the eggs to let them hatch.

After about 4 weeks of hathlings, you can feed the hatchlings to your hedgehog. Feed them before they turn 3 cm big, because the shells will become too hard for their teeth.

Species

There are a lot of GALS species and they have a big variety of needs regarding temperature, humidity and diet and the duration of eggs hatching also vary a lot. With the proper knowledge, all of the mare good feeders if you can get them to breed. However some species are extremely expensive and don’t get as much hatchlings or just grow too fast to become feeders for hedgehogs. A few good species, especially to begin with, are found below.

Achatina fulica

This species has a lot of color mutations like White Jade and Jadatzi amongst others. Its also the most common species wordlwide as pets and the easiest of them all.

Temperature
25 ºC (77 ºF) in the day, 20 ºC (68 ºF) at night.

Humidity
75-85%

Adult size
12-15 cm

Achatina zanzibarica

This species is one of the very few snail species that are live bearing, which means their eggs are hatching inside of their body and the adult will push them out after.

Temperature
26-27 during the day, 20-22 at night.

Humidity
85%

Adult size
7-9 cm

Archachatina marginata boettgeri

A relatively unknown species and a subspecies of the Archachatina marginata. These species is not the easiest, but also not the hrdest snail species to keep as pet or as breeder.

Temperature
26-28 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
More than 85%

Adult size
8 cm

Archachatina puylaerti

A fairly easy species if you have the right temperature and humidity. They aren’t as well-known as the Achatina fulica or Archachatina marginata ovum, but fairly common nevertheless.

Temperature
26-28 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
Over 85%

Adult size
10-12 cm

Archachatina sp. IKOM

A fairly large and uncommon species that’s not easily found. Yet, very strong and hard snails which are not as hard to keep as breeder or pet snail.

Temperature
26 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
85-90%

Adult size
10-12 cm

Archachatina purpurea

A not as popular species, but still fairly common and not too hard to keep as breeder or as a pet. Get the temperature and humidity at a steady level and you’ll have strong and happy snails.

Temperature
26-28 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
Over 85%

Adult size
12 cm

Archachatina marginata candefacta

A very constrastfull subspecies of the Archachatina marginata and also not as well-known as the boettgeri. Also not the hardest, but als no not the easiest species.

Temperature
26-28 during the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
More than 85%

Adult size
7-9 cm

Archachatina marginata eduardi

A rather large subspecies of the Archachatina marginata. As with the othe subspecies of this species, the eduardi is a mediocre difficut species to keep as a pet or as a breeder.

Temperature
26-28 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
More than 85%

Adult size
10 cm

Archachatina marginata grevillei

One of the larger subspecies of the Archachatina marginata. It has a pinkish tip at the end of their shell. They are a mediocre difficult species.

Temperature
26-28 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
More than 85%

Adult size
12-15 cm

Archachatina marginata marginata

The original species of the Archachatina marginata. Because of the many subspecies, the name is mentione twice as it’s common in Latin names. A mediocre difficult species that becomes quite large.

Temperature
26-28 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
Over 85%

Adult size
12-15 cm

Archachatina marginata ovum

A more popular subspecies of the Archachatina marginata and also the largest. They are not as hard, probably slightly easier than the other subspecies although it’s still not the easiest.

Temperature
26-28 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
Over 85%

Adult size
15-18 cm

Archachatina marginata rhodei

One of the larger subspecies of the Archachatina marginata. It has a red tip at the end of their shell. They are a mediocre difficult species, although a bit more difficult than other subspecies.

Temperature
26-30 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
Over 85%

Adult size
8-10 cm

Archachatina marginata suturalis

One of the larger subspecies of the Archachatina marginata. It has a large red tip at the end of their shell. They are a mediocre difficult species.

Temperature
26-28 in the day, 22 at night.

Humidity
Over 85%

Adult size
12-15 cm

This blogpost is made in association with Snailcorner, a passionate breeder of snails, slugs, centi- and millipedes, beetles, spiders and other animals. The lovely people from this company do a lot of research towards snail species and organise imports from countries like Madagascar on occasion. They also send orders throughout Europe on Mondays, so a great option to get your healthy snails to begin a breeding group. They are very welcoming and informative people who will love to hlp you out on any questions through email or their international Facebook group: Achatina snailcorner.

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