Don't place a terrarium under the direct sunlight! This is a common mistake! Snails do not enjoy basking in the sun like reptiles do. While different snail species have different levels of tolerance towards dryness and sunlight, excessive exposure to sunlight (which to certain species equals to a mere couple of hours) will result in dehydration and death.
The terrarium is a substrate. The substrate should be about 2 inches or 5 cm deep. It should be a layer of all-purpose, peat-free potting soil that you can buy in any gardening centre. Hint: check the bag for the pH measurement (which is usually written in small print on the back): what you want to buy is a soil with pH above 7. Soil with a lower pH is an acid and this on the long run may damage your snail’s delicate shell. If you decide to use soil from your own garden, be ready to bring also all the tiny critters inhabiting it into your tank. For this reason, some people recommend “sterilizing” the soil by putting it in the hot oven or in the fridge for some time before pouring it in the tank.
WHAT DO SNAILS EAT (FOOD FOR SNAIL)
Snails found in forest will happily feed on vegetables and fruit (no citrus, though!). Also, leave a piece of cuttlefish bone in the terrarium (they are commonly in commerce as calcium supplies for birds): your snail will appreciate it!They like to eat cucumbers, lettuce, apples, carrots (they prefer the greens), bananas, broccoli, beans, potatoes, porridge, strawberries, corn and of course chalk, which is always available in an extra bowl. I'm sure they like even more various vegetables and fruits. I haven't had the chance to try others yet. What they don't need is an extra bowl of water - in the contrary: Whenever they are faced with a lot of water, they seem to panic and crawl for the highest ground available. Also, if a dish is very light, adult snails easily throw it over, flooding their home. Water is continuously condensing on the walls, so they drink it there when it is required, but since there is also plenty of water in their food, it isn't really necessary to use the soil by putting it in the hot oven or in the fridge for some time before pouring it in the tank.
Snails are usually crepuscular or nocturnal creaturesv and they will often spend daytime hiding, so you want to provide them with a “home” to which they can retire. A broken terracotta flower pot will provide a comfortable hiding spot for most snails. Some species however prefer hiding among rocks, while others will climb as high as possible and rest under the lid of the terrarium, and others yet will burrow in the soil, so you will have to observe your snail’s behaviour to adapt the terrarium to their specific needs and preferences.
Snails are also keen climbers and will appreciate twigs and branches. If you wish, you can use a small plate in which to place food instead of placing it directly on the soil (not recommended if you also keep earthworms and other tank mates that should feed on the left-overs).
Do not add a pool or water dish. While some exotic snails (such as Achatina spp.) appreciate it, our local snails do not need it and may actually drown in it.
It is a good idea to keep some live plants even in the small basic terrarium. Ferns and moss are a good choice for a tank where there is a high humidity and a low sunlight exposure.
Hint: avoid using plants which will need plenty of sunlight or other conditions which are incompatible with your snail in your terrarium.
Aeration and humidity are important in your tank and the lid you will use will influence both. There are different options you may adopt, which are basically different compromises: the more aeration, in fact, the less humidity in the tank. You will have to find the balance that works for your own tank.
Aeration is provided by holes and openings either on the side of the tank, or, more commonly on the lid. Check the soil – it should be moist but never puddly. Hint: if your tank is too damp, you may need more openings. If it is too dry in spite of spraying water regularly, you may want to try and cover some of the existing holes with plastic wrap.
WHAT DO GARDENS SNAILS EAT?
Garden snails (Helix Pomatia) are herbivorous animals, mostly they eat large leafy greens (plantain, horse sorrel, burdock, dandelion, nettle, cabbage, strawberries, clover, etc., only about 30 different kinds of cultivated and wild plants), as well as soil and fallen fruit (including rotting). These snails are not in vain considered serious pests of agriculture. Having an enviable appetite they eat up young shoots of cultivated plants, causing huge losses. The snails don’t have ordinary teeth in the oral cavity, they have a radula (grater), thanks to which food is scraped, crushed and sent to the esophagus. Due to constant friction, the teeth of the snails quickly become unusable, but for mollusks this is not a problem - new teeth constantly grow in the mouth, which gradually move into the working zone. Similar regeneration of teeth in the oral cavity is a characteristic of sharks, in which teeth are also regularly updated.
WHAT DO SNAILS DO?
In the daytime snails sit in their shells and with the onset of night and coolness go to feed. These mollusks are especially active after showers. The period of active wakefulness in grape snails is an average of 5 months. All summer they accumulate nutrients in the body, and when the air temperature drops to 18-12 degrees, they leave for wintering, digging in at 5-10 centimeters into the soil. They can be buried to a depth of 30-35 cm in cold areas. Fallen foliage and then snow safely protect the mollusks from frost. Although the snail, having closed in the sink, falls into a stupor, the metabolic processes in its body do not stop, although it is very slow. Cardiac activity drops to one contraction per minute. During the winter hibernation the snail loses up to 10% of its weight. In spring, when the earth warms up to 6-8 degrees, the snails wake up, gain air into the lung, dump the lids from the shell and leave their winter shelters. Hungry and active, they go in search of food. After satisfying their hunger, the mollusks begin to search for partners for reproduction.
When keeping these mollusks at home in the snail terrarium, you have to make a snail’s house and always keep a mineral additive to the food in a separate feeder - chalk, ground egg shell or other sources of calcium. Only eating these minerals the snail shell will be large, strong, without damage and the growth of mollusks is markedly increased, the chips and cracks on the shells heal faster.