Gastropods, or snails, include a wide range of species that in their adult forms carry their shells on their backs. There are many different types of snail, such as freshwater, sea and land, many of which are common the world over. Snails come in many different sizes, from standard small snails to giant snails that can weigh up to 18.1kg. Snails make fascinating and easy-to-keep pets, providing they are kept correctly.
Clean out a plastic aquarium with hot soapy water to ensure that it is clean, and remove any dust or dirt. If the aquarium is new, this may not be necessary.
Pour a thick layer of garden peat or soil into a baking tray. Sprinkle water over the soil to moisten it.
Cover the baking tray in aluminium foil, shiny side up.
Place the baking tray in an oven set to 82.2 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and wait five to ten minutes, until the soil has cooled slightly.
Pour the soil into the plastic aquarium. Use your fingers to break up the soil to give it a natural feel.
Place a small ceramic plant pot on its side in the aquarium. Use soil to slightly bury the bottom of the pot and keep it in place. This will be used as a snail hide.
Place the water dish in the aquarium as well. This should be placed somewhere from which you can easily remove it, so that you can regularly clean the dish and refill the water.
Add extra decorations. Popular decorations include pieces of bark, a selection of leaves and plants designed for aquariums.
Spray the whole aquarium with water so that it has a light mist. Snails need a moist environment to thrive, so spray the aquarium daily.
Add food for the snail. This should be removed if it is not eaten, to prevent decay in the aquarium. Snails enjoy most types of salad, such as cabbage and lettuce. Ideally, add the food at the beginning of the day, and don't remove any uneaten food until the end; this gives the snails plenty of time to feed. Also provide egg shells and cuttlefish to add essential calcium to the snail's diet.
Place the mesh lid on top of the aquarium to secure the snail's habitat.
Allow your snail a day or two to settle in before attempting to pick it up. To pick it up, slide your finger under its body, and lift.
Wash your hands before and after you handle your snails.