What Is A Snailarium – How To Care For Pet Garden Snails

Child Holding A Snail
(Image credit: chrisroll)

A fun and easy family project is to build a snailarium. What is a snailarium? It is simply a pet snail terrarium which will house one to many pet garden snails. Children are enthralled by the slow moving decapods and enjoy making a house for them. Snails don't need much care, which makes them ideal pets. 

What is a Snailarium? 

Your snailarium is where you house pet garden snails. Pretty much an enclosure, some substrate, a food set up, and a water bowl are all you need. Pet garden snails aren't fussy about their home but you can dress it up a bit to make it seem more natural. 

Adding plants, rocks, sticks or other organic material will make the container homier. Just avoid items that are sharp, as this could hurt the soft belly and foot of the snail. Keep in mind that snails will breed, so if you have 2 or more you will soon have many. Make the enclosure big enough to contain a growing family. 

How to Make a Snailarium

Keeping snails as pets starts with an enclosure. If you've ever had fish, you may have a glass tank. This will work, provided it has a lid so snails can't escape. Any other viewable container will do. Make a lid with breathable fabric such as cheesecloth or cut holes in a plastic lid. Just make them small enough so snails cannot escape the container. 

The soil or substrate for the container is a subject of debate. Your garden soil could contain harmful bacteria, so you may want to bake it for 20 minutes or so to kill any bad bugs. You can also use potting soil or a combo of both. You could put grass on top of the soil or moss to keep soil moist and cool. Provide a shallow dish for water and one for food. 

Tips on Keeping Snails as Pets

Freshen the water daily and keep fresh vegetables and fruit in a dish. Change these out as they get old. If you want to pretty up the place, use shells, rocks, or aquarium decor. 

The choice of live plants is up to you. Choose plants that snails (and their counterparts, slugs) usually avoid, unless you wish to replace them frequently as they get eaten. 

Also, place a small pot or other sheltering device inside for snails to hide and keep cool. Keep the container out of direct sunlight and mist it with purified water as needed to keep it lightly moist. For just a few bucks your kids can have their own snailarium to learn from and enjoy.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.