How To Make A Snail Terrarium

Snails are a great low-maintenance and interesting pet. They are perfect as a beginner pet for a young child, and taking care of a snail is easy enough to include your little one.

Whether you want to house some garden snails or go all-in with a more exotic variety, you’ll need to give it a good place to live. Learning how to make a snail terrarium is a good place to start.

How To Make A Snail Terrarium

This handy guide will walk you through how to make a snail terrarium for your pet. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have a perfect snail terrarium ready to go in no time!

What A Snail Needs

Like any pet, a snail needs to be kept in certain conditions. Providing a snail with everything they need in their terrarium means that they can live a happy and healthy life. 

The best thing is, once you’ve set up a terrarium properly, it’s very low-maintenance and doesn’t require too much upkeep. Here’s what you’ll need for a snail terrarium.


The size of the snail terrarium you need depends on the species of snail you’re getting and how many you’ll be keeping. In general, you should keep a snail in a 5-gallon tank, preferably at least 6 inches tall and 10-12 inches long. 

If you’re housing multiple snails in the same terrarium, the rule of thumb is an additional gallon per snail.


While snails like to climb on the walls and ceilings of a terrarium, you still need to cover the floor in a layer of substrate. The most commonly used substrates are compost, coconut fiber, and sphagnum moss.

Use substrate from a pet store or some that you’ve gathered from your own garden, as these won’t contain the harmful chemicals found in garden store soils and composts.

Your snail needs enough substrate that it can completely bury itself for hibernation. The substrate will also need replacing over time.

Temperature And Humidity

Snails need their snail terrarium to be kept at a consistent temperature to make sure that they’re staying healthy. While certain snail species have a slightly different range, most snails need to be kept at around 65-80℉.

To make sure your snail terrarium is staying at the correct temperature, place a heat mat beneath the enclosure. Placing a thermometer in a visible location within the terrarium will help you keep track of the temperature. 

If it gets too warm, you may need to reduce the temperature of the heat mat or add more substrate to the bottom.

Humidity is also important, so you should make sure to give the substrate a good spray of water from a spray bottle daily (also, your heat mat will dry the substrate out over time).


Your snail won’t like a flat terrarium, so switch things up with the interior. Use a piece of wood (a washed piece of driftwood or bark from your garden will work great) as a hide for your snail to go in. Making a dip for a small water dish will keep it secure and prevent the snail from tipping it over. 

You’re better off not including any real plants in your terrarium, as the snail won’t hesitate to eat them. Fake plants can give your terrarium a pop of color without the risk of being munched on.

How To Make A Snail Terrarium

Making Your Snail A Terrarium

Building The Terrarium

Buying a snail terrarium from a pet store is a great way to get everything you need already prepared. If you’d prefer to make one yourself, there are a few things you should make sure the terrarium has.

The best material for your terrarium is a tough, clear material such as plastic or plexiglass. Build your terrarium out of rectangular sheets, making sure all the edges and corners are sealed tight. Sharp edges on the inside of your terrarium can injure your snail, so make sure everything’s smooth and safe.

Your snail terrarium needs to have air holes so the snail can breathe and to ventilate the air inside. Small vertical slits near the top of the tank, as well as small holes in the lid, will provide all the air needed. 

You might also want to install a feeding flap in the lid and cover it when not being used – snails can easily climb onto the bottom of the lid, so keeping the tank covered will prevent your snail from escaping.

Filling Your Terrarium

Now that the tank has been built, it’s time to fill it. Research the best substrate for your snail beforehand, as there can be some variation between species.

You want to cover the floor of your terrarium with between 2-3 inches of substrate, enough for your snail to burrow underneath.

Natural substrates are the healthiest for your snail, as well as being the most sustainable and eco-friendly to use when you make a snail terrarium.

You can also add in pieces of washed and dried wood for your snail to climb and hide in, as well as some fake plants to jazz up the interior. If you’re including decorations in the terrarium, make sure there are no sharp edges of points as this can harm your snail.

Adding a cuttlefish bone to the terrarium will make sure your snail gets enough calcium for its shell. If your terrarium has clips for the lid, you can put the bone on the ceiling, this encourages the snail to explore its enclosure.

Maintaining Your Snail Terrarium

To keep your terrarium in the best conditions possible, place a heat mat beneath it and install a simple thermometer inside. This will help you monitor the heat of the terrarium and keep your snail at the right temperature.

You should also spritz the substrate with water from a spray bottle. This will keep the substrate moist enough for your snail and keep the air humid. Change the substrate out around once a month to keep it fresh and to remove any waste from the terrarium.

Final Thoughts

So there you are! Now you know how to make and set up a snail terrarium.

Snails are great low-maintenance pets that are also a great way to introduce children to caring for animals.

It doesn’t matter if you’re making a terrarium for your pet snail or simply want to house some snails from your garden – by following this easy guide, you can make a simple snail terrarium quickly and easily. 


Joyce Bailey
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