Giant African Land Snail

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Other common names: GALS; African Land Snail; East African Land Snail; Giant West African Snail; Giant African Snail; Agate Snail; Ghana Tiger Snail

Scientific name: Achatina achatina

The basics:
The Giant African Land Snail is the largest species of land snail in the world, and is native to warm, humid forests of western Africa. Achatina achatina can grow a colorful shell as long as 30 cm. / 11.8 inches, and for this reason has become a popular and desirable exotic pet. Unfortunately, captive Giant African Land Snails have sometimes been released into the wild, and they have become an invasive pest in parts of Asia and the United States.

Special Note - Achatina achatina and the other two species of Giant African Land Snail (GAL) are illegal to own in the U.S. and Canada and no import or export of these snails is allowed. Check your local regulations to see if they are legal in your country before acquiring one. They are considered agricultural pests and are also considered a devastating invasive species.

Appearance / health:
Adult snails reach up to 3 inches high and their shell length can be up to 10 inches. The shells are cone shaped and twisted primarily a brown color. Shell color will be dependant on diet, and can be seen as a tan like color, olive green, and other various colors. The shell is banded with the primary color and with a lighter shade of the primary color.

Behavior / temperament:
All species of snails are docile and are slow moving. Handling may be done but wash and keep hands moist before doing so and always wash after. The base of the shells are especially fragile so be careful when picking them up. In some parts of Africa, these snails are used as a food source. In countries where these are legal as pets, they are low maintenance, fun to watch, and make great pets.

It’s recommended only to keep 1 snail at a time. One snail may be kept in a tank no less than a 10 gallon. Larger tanks are preferred. A secure lid is needed.

Temperatures should stay between 70-80F but can fluctuate down to 65F at night and to 85F for short periods. Heat can be achieved by using under tank heaters or heat strips available at any pet store (reptile section). Humidity should be kept around 60-70%. Substrate should be soil or compost kept between 1-5 inches deep to allow the snails to burrow. Substrate and tank contents should be misted and kept moist. Full tank cleanings will need to be done weekly (substrate changes, décor cleaning, etc). Keeping a water dish is not necessary if the tank is misted and moist enough. If providing one, make sure it’s a very shallow, easy to get in and out of, bowl. Add tank décor such as wood, bark, rocks, side laying flower pots, and other items that will allow the snail to climb on and hide in.

GALS need a varied diet. Fresh fruits and veggies will make up most of the diet. Offer dark leafy lettuce, apples, cucumber, kale, spinach, tomatoes, grapes, bananas, and many others. Do not feed head lettuce as they hold no nutritional value. Calcium supplementation is needed to keep shells strong. This can be achieved by providing a cuttlebone inside the tank (cuttlebones are usually found in the bird section in pet stores).

GALS will breed readily with no help from the keeper if kept in pairs or more. GALS are hermaphrodites (possess both male and female organs), so even if two females or two males are kept together they can still breed. Since these are considered an invasive species, breeding them is not recommended so adults should be kept singly. They can produce thousands of eggs quickly and most keepers will become overwhelmed. NEVER RELEASE ANY UNWANTED PETS INTO THE WILD.


Fantastic, pets, sheer size, fascinating creatures, gigantic creatures


escapes, hundreds, slime marks, invasive species, little baby snails


mild flavour, chickenwire cage, snail eggs, spicy sauces, nice humid residence

Helpful Giant African Land Snail Review

Giant African Land Snail

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