Giant African Land Snails are the ultimate pet to have at uni
If you’re a pet owner and have a beloved non-human family member, you’ll agree that leaving them behind for university is possibly the worst thing ever. But why miss the love from your precious, four legged friends when you can easily have different creatures to keep you company?
Switch to slime and adopt a giant African land snail, the ultimate pet to take care of whilst at your second home.
If you aren’t exactly sure what a giant African land snail is, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A giant snail. They grow from the tiniest and cutest little pebbles to up to beasts of about 20cm in length, depending on the species, and live from 3-5 years, (like your time at university) although some have lived ’til 10.
Your student finance just about covers your expenditures, and a student’s budget is not very flexible, even if you work part-time. Luckily finance isn’t a worry for a snail. They don’t need walking everyday so you can stick to your busy schedule. They aren’t liable to get run over and they aren’t in need of expensive vet care. They don’t need money spent on chew toys, spot-on flea repellent, or cat litter, and their food is basically your leftovers.
All you’ll need is a basic tank to house them, a soil block used for amphibious pets or reptiles, cuttlefish pieces, food, and the snails. Everything is easily accessible in pet shops or online, and it’s cheap! To set everything up it shouldn’t cost more than £15-20, including the slimey delights themselves. They eat leafy greens and non acidic fruits, but favour cucumber. They also need the cuttlefish pieces from pet shops for calcium for strong shell growth, which is about 50p a piece. Adding some decoration or shelter also helps them live well, and cleaning is easy too.
What’s easy to take care of, interesting to handle and won’t run away? That’s right, a giant snail or two. After a long day, interaction with a household pet can be stress relieving and can help you relax; but sadly you can’t keep cats, dogs, or other creatures in student accommodation. Keeping snails solves this issue, as they can easily be hidden during room inspections in a wardrobe, under the bed, or anywhere hidden but suitable for their health, too (e.g. Not in the oven or stuffed in a boiler cupboard, obviously).
When they get rather large, it can takesa bit of practice to be able to handle them well, but once you get used to it’s easier and more enjoyable. With damp and clean hands, holding them can be gross at first but it quickly becomes a mesmerising feeling as they slither across your palms, enjoying the warmth of your skin. Watching something so slow can be quite a calming experience.
Admittedly, one drawback to keeping them is that when they reach maturity, they have a tendency to lay many, many eggs. Even if you have just one snail, it could easily become hundreds as giant African land snails are both male, and female.
Having giant snails is quirky and unique. Unless they’re squeamish and not very curious, they can be entertaining to handle with chill house mates – the ones that won’t freak out and squish them. They can easily be a great pet for the whole house to cherish. Also, their pretty shells make for a good Instagram.
If you’re already thinking of what you would name your snails, maybe think it through properly first – a snail is for life, not just for Uni. One thing you have to remember is that they are still living things, and whether you like them or think that they’re gross, they still need a loving owner that will take good care of them.
If, after thinking it through, you would actually like to keep and responsibly take care of a giant African land snail or two, or if you have any questions email me at [email protected], as I have baby snails that will be large enough to pass on in around a month or two (which is plenty of time to think it through!).