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Note that you are not permitted to keep native species of snails without a permit from the Department of Conservation (see The Wildlife Act 1953 ).

DOC Snail Identification Information

The vivarium

  • You can make an ideal vivarium for garden snails from an aquarium or a box with a wire mesh lid.
  • Line the vivarium with a layer of gravel and then a layer of moist garden soil. Add some rotting leaves, a few rocks, some decaying wood, a branch, and a few handfuls of grass.
  • Place the vivarium where it receives only dull light because snails like cool, moist, darkish conditions.
  • Ensure that the vivarium lid fits tightly to keep out predators and to keep the snails in.
  • If conditions are not right – if it is too hot, too cold, or too dry – each snail will curl up inside its shell, seal a thin "door" behind it, and wait for more favourable conditions.


  • When cleaning the vivarium, never use soap or detergent because these may kill the snails. Instead, use salt or bicarbonate of soda as an abrasive and then rinse thoroughly.