Best Food for Giant African Land Snails

Best Food for Giant African Land Snails

Best Food for Giant African Land Snails

Lissachatina fulica, better known as the Giant African Land Snail (G.A.L.S), ranks among the largest snail species globally. When kept in captivity, these snails necessitate meticulous care encompassing a specialized diet and regulated heating. So, what is the best food for Giant African Land Snails?

The best food for Giant African Land Snails includes vegetables, fruits, and grains. Avoid salt, spices, processed sugars, dairy, and acidic foods. Ensuring a supply of calcium is essential for healthy shell growth. Remember, these adaptable creatures can consume almost any organic matter.

Let us look at the best feeding patterns for Giant African Land Snails.

Fascinating Facts About G.A.L.S

Native to the tropical climates of East Africa, specifically Tanzania and Kenya, the Giant African Land Snail (G.A.L.S) is now found across many parts of the globe. The methods it uses to endure in colder sub-tropical climates are intriguing; the snail can hibernate extensively (aestivation) when temperatures drop too low. The G.A.L.S. is a terrestrial species that breathes through a lung.

Its subspecies may vary in color and size but are generally quite large. As herbivorous species, these snails consume only plant-based materials, feeding on any part of a plant – seeds, leaves, bark, and even the stem during food shortages.

The G.A.L.S. is known for its extensive environmental impact, feeding on almost 500 species of plants. These snails can wreak substantial environmental havoc due to their considerable size, voracious appetite, and rapid reproduction rate.

Furthermore, G.A.L.S. is a known host for the African rat lungworm, which can cause meningitis in humans. Consequently, some states have restricted the movement and sale of this snail species. Nonetheless, they remain widely available in pet stores.

The Natural Diet of Giant African Land Snails

Despite its reputation as a predominantly herbivorous creature, the Giant African Land Snail (G.A.L.S) is more accurately described as a voracious generalist species, willing to consume almost any organic matter it encounters.

This flexibility extends to detritus and even animal protein, as observed in terrarium environments. In their natural habitat, G.A.L.S thrives on a diverse diet that includes: 

  • Vegetables
  • Plants and flowers
  • Fresh leaves and fruits
  • Nuts
  • Dying plants
  • Decaying leaves
  • Bark
  • Seeds
  • Grains
  • Mushrooms
  • Smaller snails
  • Insects 

In terrariums, while the snail adapts to consume whatever food is available, it’s important to note that not all foods are equally beneficial for them. Given their natural inclination towards a herbivorous diet, certain foods are more suitable than others.

To provide optimal care for this snail species, understanding its dietary needs is key. This will enable you to curate a diet that effectively meets its nutritional requirements.

Nutritional Needs of Giant African Land Snails

Like other snails, a G.A.L.S requires a balanced diet to fulfill its nutritional needs. These essential nutrients include: 

  • Energy
  • Protein
  • Vitamins
  • High levels of calcium to support shell growth

It’s crucial to ensure that your Giant African Land Snail’s diet encompasses all these vital components.

Best Food for Giant African Land Snails

Vegetables

Vegetables should form the cornerstone of your Giant African Land Snail’s diet. Here are some recommended vegetables to incorporate into your G.A.L.S’s meals:

  • Green peas
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet pepper
  • Leeks
  • Spouts
  • Asparagus
  • Dandelion
  • Cabbage
  • Pumpkin
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Kales
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber

Fruits

Fruits are also a favorite for Giant African Land Snails. They provide an excellent source of vitamins, fats, and minerals. Here are some suitable fruits for your G.A.L.S:

  • Apples
  • Cloves
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Banana
  • Butternut
  • Sweet cherry
  • Sweet plum
  • Sweet raspberry
  • Nectarines
  • Papaya
  • Pears
  • Raisins
  • Tangerine

Grains and Nuts

Giant African Land Snails also favor grains and nuts due to their high nutritional value and fat content. Here are some excellent grains and nuts to include in your G.A.L.S’s diet:

  • Oats
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Lily
  • Carnation
  • Hibiscus
  • Corn
  • Sunflower seeds

Calcium

As mentioned, G.A.L.S requires significant calcium to facilitate healthy shell growth. Since 98% of a snail’s shell comprises calcium, it is essential to incorporate ample calcium sources in their diet.

Some beneficial calcium sources for your snails include: 

  • Ground coral
  • Ground egg shells
  • Shells of dead snails
  • Cuttlebone

If you’re seeking a readily available source of calcium, consider POPETPOP’s Fish Tank Calcium Stone. These cubes are soft, palatable, and readily release calcium for your snails. Your Giant African Land Snails can easily nibble on these cubes to obtain their necessary calcium. Just place one or two cubes in your terrarium.

POPETPOP’s Fish Tank Calcium Stone
  • 12 Packs of Calcium Blocks Size: About 1.2*1.2*1.2cm/ 0.47*0.47*0.47inch.
  • Turtle grinding stone With rich trace elements, this calcium stone has a longer life and it is really economic. Turtle Mineral Supplement.
  • The calcium stone turtle treat toys is decomposed easily, but it will not pollute.
  • Fish tank calcium stones Safe for all turtles, reptiles, terrestrial animals and other aquatic life.
  • Fish Tank Substrate Calcium Stone Economic Friendly, the nutrient composition is in the calcium stone and can dissolve which will not pollute the water.

Avoid powdered supplements, as they can create a mess in your terrarium. These supplements are better suited for water-holding tanks, where they dissolve to release calcium. Additionally, avoid classroom chalk, as it may contain harmful chemicals for your snails.

A calcium deficiency can lead to several issues for snails, including: 

  • Slow growth rate.
  • Poor immune function, resulting in reduced healing and regeneration abilities.
  • Snails gnawing on their own shells.
  • Lower reproduction rates.
  • Cracked or malformed shells.

Foods Harmful to Your G.A.L.S

Here’s a list of foods and substances you should never give to your Giant African Land Snails: 

  • Salt: Salt draws water from the snail’s body, potentially leading to dehydration.
  • Spices: These can cause inflammation and drying out.
  • Flour: It’s difficult for snails to digest.
  • Fried Food: There’s a risk that salt, garlic, spices, or onions may have been used during preparation, which can disrupt digestion. The oils used in frying can also harm snails.
  • Smoked Food: Smoke is harmful to snails, potentially causing allergic reactions.
  • Sugary Processed Foods Like Candy: Starches are hard for snails to digest.
  • Dairy Products: They cause digestive issues.
  • Boiled Eggs: The yolk of a boiled egg doesn’t ferment, complicating digestive processes.
  • All Citruses and Lemonades: These are acidic, and snails cannot tolerate acidity.
  • Potato Plant Stem and Leaves: While the potato tuber is okay, the stem and leaves contain solanine, a highly toxic chemical to snails.

How Much Should G.A.L.S Eat?

These large-sized snails are voracious eaters. It’s recommended to feed them at least once a day.

Typically, a snail will consume food equivalent to about 10% of its weight. However, for optimal growth, a snail should eat until it’s full.

An ideal serving for an adult G.A.L.S would be around 0.2 ounces (6 grams) of food per day, with vegetables constituting the largest portion of the diet. Blanch your vegetables, but avoid frying them. Additionally, grains or nuts should not be boiled or cooked.

Closing Remarks

G.A.L.S are becoming increasingly popular in terrariums due to their fascinating characteristics. Observing these large-sized snails is quite enjoyable. While they primarily survive on plants, like many other terrestrial snails, they can consume nearly any organic detritus. Remember that your G.A.L.S is primarily herbivorous, and ensure to provide a balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can African land snails eat tomatoes?

Giant African Land Snails can safely eat tomatoes. However, they should be served as part of a varied diet to ensure balanced nutrition.

Can giant African land snails eat mealworms?

Giant African Land Snails can eat mealworms, including crushed, water-soaked dried mealworms, as an occasional supplement to their primarily herbivorous diet for added protein.

Can giant African land snails eat blueberries?

Giant African Land Snails can eat blueberries. They are a good source of vitamins and should be included as part of a varied diet.

Can giant African snails eat strawberries?

Giant African Land Snails can eat strawberries. These fruits provide a good source of vitamins and can be part of a varied and balanced diet.

Can giant African land snails eat kiwi?

Giant African Land Snails can indeed consume kiwi, which can provide them with essential vitamins and nutrients as part of a varied diet.

Sources

Author

  • Paul Odoteh

    Paul Odoteh is an established writer and editor with nearly 10 years of experience in writing and editing. He holds a bachelor's degree in IT and has written for numerous publications and individuals. Currently, Odoteh is dedicated to expanding his blog, SnailPedia.com, which was inspired by his passion for owning an aquarium.

    https://www.snailpedia.com pdoteh@gmail.com Odoteh Paul

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