Theba pisana is a unique variation from most garden snails. Besides being a White Garden Snail, there are a number of other factors that make these snails their own interesting gastropod.
These terrarium snails are fairly easy to care for, and they make the perfect addition to any enclosure.
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about caring for and enjoying your pet White Garden Snails.
|Common Name||White Garden Snail|
|Scientific Name||Theba Pisana|
|Use||Cleaning, Aerating Soil, Pets|
|Adult Size||1.4 cm|
|Breeding Type||Egg Layer|
|Minimum Tank Size||5 Gallons|
What Are White Garden Snails?
Theba pisana are small, micro-mollusks of the family Helicidae and are also known as Mediterranean snails.
They are native to many parts of the world, including western and central Europe, northern Africa, and the western Mediterranean.
The name “Theba pisana” comes from “theba” the Latin word meaning “box”, referring to the helmet-shaped shell the snails carry on their back.
They can range in size, have a brown-gray coloration, and have a foot that is patterned in stripes.
Male snails typically have slightly larger shells than female snails.
What Do White Garden Snails Look Like?
White Garden snails have a distinctive yellow-gray body, which is usually 1-1.4 cm long.
They have soft, slimy skin and two large antennae protruding from the head.
A unique feature of white Garden snails is a dark brown spiral shell that is found on the snail’s back.
This shell provides the snail with protection and serves as a reservoir of calcium.
The shell also acts as a shelter for the snail as it moves along, and it can be used to identify different species.
Theba pisana can also be observed in varying shades of brown and yellow, depending on the breed, age, and location.
Benefits Of Using White Garden Snails
White Garden Snails can make fantastic additions to vivariums, providing a unique and fascinating look to terrariums, paludariums, and other similar enclosures.
These creatures are relatively low maintenance and fairly hardy, needing only basic care and basic recommendations for their habitat.
Not only do they provide visual interest, but Theba pisana is also beneficial to the health of your habitat.
They are valuable clean-up crew who help with the decomposition of detritus, and they help to aerate the soil with their little burrows.
White Garden Snail Facts
White Garden snails, scientifically known as Theba pisana, are small, hermaphrodite, terrestrial gastropods.
They are vegetarians and typically feed on leaves, stems, vegetables, and fruit.
They are generally gentle and docile creatures, with an average lifespan of just a few years, who reproduce by laying jelly-like egg capsules in the soil.
Theba pisana is native to the Mediterranean area.
They can be found in scrubland, Gardens, parks, rocky terrains, and other areas with plenty of vegetation.
They prefer moderate climates and moist conditions.
These small mollusks have been introduced to many different parts of the world, including North and South America and Australia.
Despite their small size, they are incredibly hardy and can adapt to a variety of environments.
They are nocturnal, meaning they typically hide during the day and emerge at night to feed and explore.
In their natural habitat, White Garden Snails have a variety of predators, including birds, spiders, snakes, and reptiles.
Theba pisana is primarily herbivorous. In the wild, they feed on a variety of plants, including flowers, leaves, and grasses.
They also love consuming algae and decaying wood and bark.
To supplement their diet, White Garden Snails also enjoy eating various mushrooms and lichens.
These snails are not reliant on any source of water, as they are able to absorb most of their water needs from the food they eat.
However, they will still benefit greatly from having a shallow bowl of fresh water placed in their enclosure.
This can help them to receive additional hydration and nutrients.
White Garden snails are gentle creatures that prefer to be left alone. They don’t enjoy being touched or handled by humans.
They can be shy around people and other animals, and they like to remain hidden in their shells.
When they are approached by humans, they will usually try to escape.
Theba pisana can be kept with other pet species, but they should never be overcrowded, as this can cause stress and other issues.
They cohabitate peacefully with other snails, as well as some non-carnivorous animals.
They are active throughout the year, and they can be fun to observe as they move about their habitat.
They have a relatively slow metabolism, so they tend to take their time exploring and meandering through their habitats.
As long as your pet snails have access to food and water, they can live quite happily in their environment.
On average, these Theba pisana can live for up to 2 years but some may live for much longer.
Each snail will go through a complete life cycle as they grow, reproduce, and die.
At birth, each snail hatches from an egg and is just a few millimeters in size.
Over time, the snail will develop its shell and grow to an adult size of about 1 inch.
As the snail matures, it will become more active, lay eggs, and eventually die once its life is complete.
White Garden snails are hermaphroditic, which means that they have both male and female reproductive organs.
As a result, they can inseminate themselves, so mating between two snails is not necessary.
The snails use a special organ called a palp, located between their eyes, to deposit a spermatophore on the ground, which is how the many different snail species reproduce.
Once a spermatophore has been deposited, snails can leave and return in order to share the paternity of the eggs.
A single snail can lay anywhere from 30 to 180 eggs at once, although bigger snails can lay up to 600.
After about two to three weeks, the eggs hatch, and small baby snails emerge.
Depending on the temperature and other environmental factors, the snails can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to fully mature.
Where To Find White Garden Snails
White Garden snails can typically be found in many parts of the world, and they are often abundant in areas with a mild climate such as California and other parts of the American west coast.
They can also be found in France, where the species is native.
If you’re looking to buy Theba pisana instead of catching them in the wild, there are a few places you can find them for sale.
Many pet stores will sell snails in small plastic containers, alongside other pet supplies.
Alternatively, you may be able to find these snails for sale online from vendors who specialize in snail-related products.
Keep in mind that snails can also be shipped, which means that you can purchase them from online vendors even if they’re not located in your area.
Be sure to research the different types available before making your purchase, as this will help you ensure you’re taking home the right type of snail for your individual situation.
White Garden Snail Care
White Garden snails need an enclosed habitat with the proper temperature and humidity, as well as a substrate layer, humidity, and calcium-rich food sources.
Ensure your snails have enough ventilation, food, and water and monitor their health regularly.
Theba pisana thrive in tanks that are open-air or have low humidity and high ventilation since they like to explore their environment.
The tank should be at least 10 gallons, using a terrarium substrate of 1-2 inches to provide a safe digging environment for them.
The substrate should be semi-dry, with plenty of gravel and smaller stones for snails to climb on.
An ideal pH level for these snails is approximately 6-8, as well as an ideal temperature of 65-75 °F.
For terrarium lighting, a dim light is preferred, but natural light is also beneficial.
Lastly, be sure to include hiding spots in the form of rocks and tropical plants to give your snails more places to explore.
What Do White Garden Snails Eat?
Feeding White Garden Snails can be fairly simple; these creatures mostly eat vegetables, fruits, and plants.
While snails do feed on proteins from time to time, they are mostly herbivores. As such, they should only be given food that is suitable for herbivores.
Here is a list of foods that you can offer to your white Garden snails:
– Vegetables such as lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, and carrots
– Fruit such as apples, pears, bananas, and melon
– Plants such as alfalfa and clover
– Calcium-rich foods such as cuttlefish bone, eggshells, and oyster shells
When feeding your Theba pisana, it is important to avoid processed and sugary treats, as these can be too rich for the snails and can cause problems with digestion.
Always make sure that food is fresh and free of pesticides. Remove any uneaten food after 24 hours as it can become moldy and cause health issues.
If you’re more of an avid hobbyist like myself, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY land snail food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.
Best Tankmates For White Garden Snails
Many people assume that White Garden Snails need to be kept on their own, but in many cases, they can make great tankmates for other animals.
The best tankmates for Theba pisana include isopods, such as the cubaris, pill bugs, and sow bugs.
They are relatively low-maintenance invertebrates and help assist snails naturally by eating detritus and waste that can accumulate in their tank.
Additionally, these snails can live with Giant African Millipedes and small crabs, both of which are also easy to care for and provide fascinating interactions between them and the snails.
They can also live with other similar species of snails, like Giant African snails or Ramshorn snails—just make sure to always research potential tankmates to ensure they’re compatible.
Finally, some aquatic species, such as Glass shrimp and Bamboo shrimp, will peacefully co-exist with White Garden Snails.
While these two species are not necessary for the snails, they can add another fascinating element to semi-aquatic tanks.
White Garden Snails make very amusing and affectionate pets that are also easy to care for. With the right setup and supplies, you can happily enjoy your pet snail for many years.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand the needs of Theba pisana and give you the confidence to properly care for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, white garden snails are considered an invasive species in many parts of the world.
White garden snails are edible and can be cooked in a variety of dishes. In some countries, such as France, snail dishes are considered a delicacy. The snails should be cooked thoroughly to ensure that any parasites or toxins are destroyed.