Contemplating the Ethics: Is It Cruel to Keep Garden Snails as Pets?

Is it Cruel to Keep Garden Snails as Pets?

When it comes to choosing pets, most people think of furry or feathery companions like dogs, cats, or birds. But have you ever considered keeping garden snails as pets? These fascinating creatures may not be your conventional choice, but they can make delightful and low-maintenance companions for those interested in observing the wonders of nature up close.

The Debate

The question of whether it is cruel to keep garden snails as pets has sparked a lively debate among animal enthusiasts. Some argue that confining these creatures goes against their natural instincts and deprives them of freedom. On the other hand, others believe that with proper care and suitable living conditions, snails can thrive in captivity without experiencing undue suffering.

Natural Habitat vs. Captivity

In order to determine whether keeping garden snails as pets is cruel or not, one must consider how their needs are met in both their natural habitat and in captivity.

Natural Habitat:

  • Garden snails typically live outdoors where they have access to a wide range of vegetation for food.
  • They enjoy humidity levels similar to what we experience on rainy days.
  • During the day they find shelter under rocks or leaves while coming out at night to feed.


  • A well-designed terrarium can provide an environment similar to their natural habitat by including soil substrate for burrowing and ample fresh vegetables for nutrition.
  • Maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels within the enclosure is crucial for their well-being.
  • Garden snails are nocturnal, so a dimly lit area is recommended to mimic their natural behavior.

By replicating the key aspects of a garden snail’s natural habitat, responsible pet owners can create an environment that promotes their health and happiness.

Social Interaction

Another aspect to consider when discussing the welfare of garden snails in captivity is social interaction. While these creatures may not exhibit emotions like mammals do, they possess unique behaviors that indicate cooperation and communication within their own kind.

If you decide to keep multiple snails as pets, it is important to provide them with adequate space and resources. This allows them to interact with one another by engaging in activities such as mating or forming small colonies. Observing these interactions can be both educational and entertaining for the owner while ensuring the well-being of the snails.

Caring for Garden Snails

To ensure your pet garden snail remains healthy and contented in its new home, there are several key care considerations:


  • Offer a varied diet consisting mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in calcium for shell development.
  • Avoid foods known to be toxic or harmful to snails such as salt or citrus fruits.


  • Mist water inside the enclosure regularly while avoiding direct spraying on the snail itself.
  • Provide a shallow dish filled with clean water for drinking purposes.


* Regularly remove any uneaten food or decaying organic matter from the terrarium.
* Keep the enclosure clean and well-ventilated to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi.

By adhering to these care guidelines, you can ensure that your garden snails are living comfortably and healthily.

The Verdict

So, is it cruel to keep garden snails as pets? When provided with a suitable environment that mimics their natural habitat, along with proper care and social interaction, garden snails can thrive in captivity. As responsible pet owners, it is our duty to provide for their needs and promote their overall well-being. Keeping garden snails as pets can be an enriching experience both for us and these fascinating creatures.

Remember, always research thoroughly before deciding to bring any animal into your home as a pet. Consult reputable sources and seek advice from experienced individuals who have successfully kept garden snails or similar animals as pets before making any commitments.