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13 Types of Pet Snails (Land and Water)

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Pet snails are a wonderful addition to any aquarium or reptile enclosure. They’re a low-maintenance pet that won’t need a lot of upkeep. If you’ve got a terrarium and you’re thinking about what type of snails to get, there’s a lot to consider.

You have to decide how large you want your snail to be, what’s available near you, and whether you want a more active snail or one that will spend most of its time sleeping in a corner or under a rock.

A lot of people keep pet snails in classrooms for kids or get them as a starter pet for young children.

They’re fun to observe as they explore their environment, and building a nice terrarium can be a lot of fun.

The glass displays make it easy to see what your pet snail is doing, and you can fill it with enough dirt, leaves, branches, and other items to make your snail nice and happy.

We’re all used to seeing common garden snails, but a lot of people are surprised when they find out just how many different types of snails there are out there. In this article, we list 13 snails you can keep as pets.

13 Different Types of Snails

1. The Giant African Land Snail

Giant African Land Snail crawling on a wooden platform

Even though it’s called the African land snail, you can find these pretty much everywhere now. If you’re somewhere with a lot of snails, these are the ones you see climbing on garden walls and on sidewalks when it rains.

A lot of places consider these snails an invasive species because of their large numbers. They do a lot of damage to farms and gardens every year.

They have a nice brown and black pattern on their shells and are easy to pick up and are fairly active.

2. The Roman Snail

Roman Snail crawling on a wooden platform

This is a snail with an interesting look different from common snails you’ll come across.

People love these snails because they taste great! Yes, you read that right. People eat the roman snail in escargot dishes in France and several other countries.

It’s a light cream color with a light brown shell.

3. The Garden Snail

brown Garden Snail slowly moving on the ground

This is another very common species of snail, but plenty of people love to keep garden snails as pets because they are affordable, easy to find and look cool.

Some people consider these snails pests, but they have unique circular designs on their shells, and they come in small sizes that make keeping them fairly low-key.

4. Milk Snails

Milk snail Otala lactea on a stick

If you want your terrarium to pop a bit, see if you can find a milk snail. These snails get their name from their creamy white body and shell.

They can grow to be rather large, but they eats a wide variety of food, so caring for them is relatively simple. They love to eat things like fruit, cauliflower, and even yucca.

5. Mystery Snails

Mystery Snail living under the freshwater

These snails are freshwater snails that are ideal for living in an aquarium. They have very colorful shells that pop and make a great addition along with fish and other animals inside.

Mystery snails will also spend their days eating fish waste and any leftover food, so they pitch in to keep your tank clean.

6. The Common Whelk

Common Whelk on top of the plants on a rock

The common whelk is a big snail. It comes in yellow, white, and red, and some people eat these as food.

This snail lives in the ocean and is a favorite snack of a lot of fish and things like crabs. If you travel outside of the U.S., you’ll see whelk on a lot of international menus.

7. Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are another freshwater snail that a lot of aquarium owners love. They take down algae very quickly and keep your glass nice and clear. They’ll also help out by taking care of any dead plants and leftover fish food in the tank.

One of the best things about nerite snails is that they won’t go after living plants in your tank, so you won’t have to worry about them destroying the plants you buy and install.

8. Assassin Snails

Assassin Snail at the bottom of an aquarium

Do you have a problem with tiny pest snails in your aquarium? Unfortunately, sometimes there are snail eggs on the rocks you buy for your aquarium, and the next thing you know, you’ve got tiny snails walking around when you don’t want them to, breeding and eating your plants.

Well, in comes the colorful assassin snail to help you get rid of any pest snails inside. These snails are carnivorous and will hunt and eat any intruder snails.

9. Rabbit Snails

People are growing to love rabbit snails more and more. They’re becoming more popular for freshwater aquariums because they have unique coloring and are big enough to draw peoples’ attention.

Even though they’re officially named rabbit snails, people often call them elephant snails because they’re so big. These snails also help pitch in to keep your tank clean by eating algae and any waste inside.

10. Candy Cane Snails

Candy Cane Snail at the center of a green plate

As you may have guessed by the name, these snails have shells that look like colorful candy canes, with bands of different colors going around in circles.

They’re truly beautiful and are in high demand. It’s usually found in the Caribbean, but a lot of specialty pet stores sell them.

11. Sea Butterflies

Sea butterflies are so named because they are one of the few snail species that won’t crawl around your aquarium. Instead, they swim, serenely floating across your tank.

These snails eat small shrimp, and a lot of fish will eat them, so make sure you have the right animals in your tank before you add a sea butterfly to your collection.

12. Malaysian Trumpet Snails

These Malaysian trumpet snails are often kept as pets because, again, they’re a big help when it comes to keeping tanks clean.

Be aware, though, that with a lot of food, these snails will reproduce at a pretty good clip. Something to know depending on how many baby snails you want to deal with in your aquarium.

13. The Colombian Ramshorn Apple Snail

two Ramshorn Apple Snail at the bottom of a fish tank

This snail’s name is quite the mouthful. It’s a large snail that lives in freshwater and pet owners love having them because they eat things like dead fish, other snails, dead plants, and algae.

They’re essentially like having a vacuum in your aquarium that cleans up all of the stuff you don’t want in there.

A Bit About Caring for Snails

Snails will be happy in pretty much any enclosure you have provided they have food, someplace dark to hide and sleep, and plenty of oxygen. Leaving a small opening in the tank that won’t let them escape will give them a steady supply of fresh oxygen.

With the oxygen, you’ll probably see your snails moving around more and being more active generally. You can feed them with simple greens, cucumbers, or things like apple slices.

They love things with high water content.

At some point, depending on the size of your terrarium, you’ll need to clean off the feces and mucus that builds up over time. Thankfully, snails aren’t very dirty, so it’s not like you’re going to be cleaning the tank all of the time.

Most of the supplies you’ll need to properly care for a pet snail can be found online or in your local pet store.