How Long do Aquarium and Land Snails Live?

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Whether you are considering getting a pet snail or you already have one, you may be searching for the answer to the question, “How long will my aquarium or land snail live?”

In general, depending on the species, aquarium snails can live from 1 to 5 years on average. While large land snails can be expected to live for 10 years or even more. Smaller snail species usually have a shorter lifespan than larger ones.

The lifespan of a pet is something that is usually taken into consideration when thinking about whether or not to get one. Knowing their lifespan will let you give them the best because your pet snails can live for a long time with proper care.

The Short Lifespan

Bladder snails (Physa acuta) are among the aquarium snails with the shortest lifespan. These mollusks usually live up to 1 year.

Even though these snails can live a little longer in certain circumstances, that is not the norm. In snails, a low water temperature is associated with a slow metabolism and longer lifespan.

Note: Aquarium and land snails are all “cold-blooded” animals. In other words, their body temperature completely depends on the temperature in their surrounding environment.

Bladder snail is a globally invasive freshwater snail in the world. This is also one of the smallest snails in the aquarium hobby. The typical size of a Bladder snail is 0.4 inches (1 cm) long when fully grown.

Read more about this species in my article “Bladder Snail – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding”.

The Long Lifespan

In snails, there is a correlation between body size and long lifespan. Therefore, Giant African Land Snails (GALS) take the leading role here.

In general, these giant land snails have been known to live up to 10 years while an average lifespan is anywhere between 5-8 years.

These species have the potential to get up to 20 cm (8 inches) long (shell length) or even more.

Note: The Syrinx aruanus (the Australian trumpet or the Giant whelk) is the biggest of all snails. There have been documented cases of them growing up to 35 inches (90 cm) in length and weighing more than 40 pounds (20 kg)!

There is no official data on how long they can live in the wild. However, according to shell structure (as they get older, the more growth rings at the edge of their shell), some snails lived beyond 30 years.

You can read more about them in my articles:

  • Archachatina Marginata – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding
  • Giant African Land Snails – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding

List of Snails and Their Lifespan

Here are typical lifespans of some well-known land, freshwater, and saltwater snail species.

Two Main Factors that Determine How Long Snails Live

  • Genetic factors

As with any living organism, a snail’s lifespan is affected `by several genetic factors including physical size, heart efficiency, metabolism, age of reproductive maturity, and length of reproductive viability.

  • Environmental factor

They including feeding regime, diseases, predation, and, of course, the quality of aquarium (paludarium or terrarium) setups

We cannot change genetic factors but we can provide the optimal environment for our snails thus increasing their lifespan.

Role of Tank Quality

Generally, snails are easy to care for pets, but don’t take their needs for granted! To reach their maximum lifespan, we have to do research and learn more about their care essentials – from special housing to food and supplies.

For example, aquatic snails perform all their biological activities in the water – breathing, feeding, excretion of waste, feeding, maintaining mineral balance, and breeding. Therefore, water quality is the determining factor in success or failure. In land snails, we need to take into consideration temperature, humidity, and substrate quality

In a closed system like aquariums, if something goes unchecked, the lives of your snails could be compromised.

Role of Nutrition and Calcium

Even though snails can eat almost any organic matter that falls on the bottom of their tank, it does not mean that there is no need to feed them.

Snails also need a well-balanced diet:

  • Vegetables and Fruits
  • Protein
  • Calcium

Balanced food will result in a longer lifespan.

Snails use a large amount of calcium in forming their shell structure. They need some sort of calcium supplement to help keep their shell beautiful and healthy. Calcium will prevent shells from deteriorating. I highly recommend reading my article “How to Supplement Shrimp and Snails with Calcium”.

In Conclusion

Snail’s lifespan is affected by a number of factors. They have a bad reputation for short lives. However, with proper care, most snail species can live for at least 3 to 5 years.

They are probably one of the best examples of how poor habitat and care shortens their lifespan.

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