Snails have long ceased to belong to exotic pets. Domestic African snails are very unpretentious, quickly get used to the owner, and also do not require special care. Achatina — the most popular among domestic mollusks.
Features and habitat of the African snail
Giant African snail refers to gastropods to the subclass of pulmonary snails. Achatina are often kept as pets in Eurasia and America.
Snails are edible: on the Internet you can easily find a recipe for soup from these clams, or, for example, the famous “Burgundy-style snail” dish. The African snail has also found its application in cosmetology: for example, it is worth remembering the snail massage.
By the name of the snail it is not false to guess about its homeland: Africa. Now this snail can be found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Somalia. At the end of the 19th century, the Achatina was brought to India, Thailand and Kalimantan. In the middle of the 20th century, the African snail reached even Australia and New Zealand. leaving behind Japan and Hawaii
Achatina is not picky about the choice of habitat and can live both in coastal zones, and in the forest, shrubs and even near farm land. The last habitat makes Achatin agricultural pest.
Despite such a wide range of places where the snail can live, the temperature conditions for it are very limited and range from 9 to 29 ° C. In colder or hotter temperatures, the clam simply hibernates until favorable conditions occur.
Description and lifestyle of the African snail
The African snail is a land mollusk and among snails it is the largest species. Her sink can reach a truly huge size: 25 cm in length. The body of an African snail can grow up to 30 cm. Achatina’s weight reaches 250 grams, and at home African snails can live up to 9 years or more.
Achatina, like other snails, has a heart, brain, lung, kidney and eyes. In addition to the lungs, snails can breathe more skin. Achatina have no hearing. The eyes of the snails are at the ends of the tentacles and to a greater extent only respond to the level of illumination. Snails prefer dark secluded places and do not tolerate bright light.
The shell protects the mollusk from drying out and the harmful effects of the environment. Most often the color of the clam shell is brown with alternating dark and light stripes.
It can change the pattern and color depending on the diet of the snail. Smells African snail Ahatina perceives the entire skin, as well as eyes. With their eyes, snails perceive the shape of objects. Also in this case they are helped by the sole of the body.
Achatina prefer to be active at night or rainy day. Under unfavorable conditions, the Achatines are buried in the ground and go into hibernation. The entrance to the shell snail slams mucus.
Care and maintenance of the African snail
The mollusk terrarium can be made from a regular 10-liter aquarium. However, if you have the opportunity to choose a larger aquarium, then you should buy an aquarium of 20 or 30-liter.
The larger the terrarium, the larger the African snail. The content of the cochlea in the terrarium implies a normal gas exchange with the environment, so you need to make several holes in the lid for better gas exchange, or just keep the lid tightly closed.
The bottom of the terrarium needs to be filled with soil or a coconut embankment. Prerequisite for the maintenance of the African snail is the presence of the bath, because they are very fond of water treatments.
The bath should be low so that Akhatina could not choke. Of course, the Achatines perfectly tolerate water, however, at a young age, due to inexperience and fear, they can inadvertently sink.
Humidity and temperature conditions of a typical average urban apartment are well suited to picky Achatines. Humidity of the mail can be determined by the behavior of your pet: if the snail spends a lot of time on the walls of the terrarium — this is a sign that the soil is too wet, but if it dug into it, it is too dry.
Normal soil moisture usually causes the snails to crawl along the walls at night and burrow into it during the day. To increase the soil moisture sometimes you need to sprinkle it with water. In order to wake the sleeping Achatina you can gently pour water on the sink entrance or remove the cap from the mucus. It is recommended to wash the terrarium every 5-7 days.
In no case can not wash the terrarium, where the snails laid eggs, otherwise you can damage the clutch. Small Achatina need to keep without soil and feed salad leaves. African snails do not require special care, and if you follow the above rules, your snail will live a long life.
Food African snail
Achatina is not picky in food and can eat almost all vegetables and fruits: apples, melons, pears, figs, grapes, avocados, rutabaga, salad, potatoes (boiled), spinach, cabbage, peas, and even oatmeal. African snails are not averse to mushrooms, as well as various flowers, for example, daisies or elderberries.
In addition, Achatina love peanuts, eggs, minced meat, bread and even milk. Do not give snails plants in whose organic you are not sure. It is strictly forbidden to feed snails with greens, torn near a road or, for example, factories.
Before feeding do not forget to wash the plants. Never give Akhatinam too salty, spicy, sour or sweet foods, as well as smoked, fried, pasta
Do not overfeed snails. Be sure to remove the remnants of food and make sure that Achatina did not eat the spoiled product. Try to bring into the diet Achatina variety, however, snails ways to live on the same carrot with cabbage. Diversity is primarily necessary in order that in the absence of a particular product, the snail can quickly get used to the changed diet.
African snails have special food preferences: for example, they prefer lettuce and cucumbers to other types of food, and if they are fed only cucumbers from childhood in adulthood Achatina will refuse to eat anything else.
Soft foods, as well as milk, do not give Achatina in large quantities, otherwise they emit a lot of too much mucus, contaminating everything around. Small Akhatinam is not recommended to give soft food at all.
Freshly hatched snails are best given greens (for example, lettuce) and carrots rubbed on a small grater. A few days after hatching, they can be given apples and cucumbers. The price of an African snail is low and if you buy it from the owner of the brood, then the cost of one individual will not exceed 50-100 rubles.
Reproduction and life span of the African snail
African snails are hermaphrodites, i.e., both males and females due to the presence of both female and male genital organs. Possible ways of reproduction are both self-fertilization and mating.
If individuals of the same size mate, then bilateral fertilization occurs, but if the size of one of the individuals is larger, then the larger cochlea will be female, since the development of eggs requires high energy costs.
This also causes the young snails to form only sperm cells, and the snails are ready to form eggs only in adulthood.
After mating, the sperm can be stored for up to 2 years, during which an individual uses it to fertilize mature eggs. Typically, the laying consists of 200-300 eggs and one snail is able to make up to 6 clutches per year.
One egg is about 5 mm. in diameter. African snail eggs are white and have a fairly dense shell. Embryos, depending on temperature, develop from several hours to 20 days. After birth, little Achatines first feed on the remains of their eggs.
Sexual maturity comes to African snails at the age of 7-15 months, and Achatina live up to 10 years or more. They grow all their lives, however, after the first 1.5-2 years of life, their growth rate slows down somewhat.