I currently keep, and have kept many different species of snail, mainly species belonging to the Achatinidae family, which are found in Africa, and other tropical regions around the world, where they have been introduced. I also keep some other species, including Megalobulimus from South America, and Helix species that are native to Europe. This section will contain pictures and information on all the species I currently keep, and of ones I have kept in the past.
There has been a lot of confusion recently regarding Achatina immaculata, particularly concerning snails that were sold as Achatina dimidiata, Achatina stuhlmanni*, and of the species Achatina (Lissachatina) panthera, and snails that were sold as Achatina smithii*2
Recent studies, has shown that they are all the same species of highly variable snail, Achatina immaculata, though because of the huge differences in some of them, dividing them into different forms, for clarity, makes sense.
Achatina immaculata has a pink, purple or red columella, they can get to around 15-18cm shell length, though in captivity all the different forms usually get much smaller than this, around 7-10cm shell length.
Many are prone to suffering from bad health, this may be because of inbreeding, especially in the case of immaculata var. ôtwo tone,ö but this isnĺt proven.
They are found mostly in South Africa, and Madagascar, snails from different regions may appear completely different to each other, this may explain the differences in captive snails.
* Achatina stuhlmanni are not Achatina immaculata, they are a completely different species of snail, native to Central Africa, snails sold in the past listed as Achatina stuhlmanni were misidentified, because they’re elongated, plain shell resembles that of true Achatina stuhlmanni.
(above) Adult Achatina immaculata var. “panthera” (formally misidentified as Achatina smithii)
*2, Achatina smithii are not Achatina immaculata, like Achatina stuhlmanni they are a completely different species of snail, they are native to South Africa, and superficially resemble striped, elongated Achatina immaculata, an easy way to tell them apart is that Achatina smithii has a bluish white columella (like Achatina fulica) and Achatina immaculata has a pink, purple or red columella.
Keeping this species in captivity has sometimes proved difficult, especially with the ôtwo toneö and ôstuhlmanniö forms. Both require a lot of heat and humidity, snails that appear to be healthy may have serious growing problems and retract, despite their housing appearing to be adequate for them. Eggs of the ôstuhlmanniö form has also proved very difficult to hatch.
It is safe to assume ventricose specimens of immaculata be called Achatina immaculata var. ôimmaculataö and elongate, striped forms be called Achatina immaculata var. ôpantheraö this is just for clarity, and to differentiate between them, this isnĺt the official scientific description of them. All the different forms of immaculata will crossbreed, and potentially weaken their unique forms, so it is advised to house them in captivity in groups that appear to be of the same form only.
Both the immaculata and panthera form has proved much easier to keep in captivity than other forms, and are quickly becoming established in captivity, especially the elongate panthera form that were once misidentified as Achatina smithii.
They need to be kept fairly warm, around 26-30c, a heatmat is advised, the humidity needs to be quite high as well, these arenĺt as tolerant of a range of temperature as Achatina fulica, especially var. ôtwo toneö and var. ôstuhlmanni.ö
Housing is as described for Achatina achatina but as these snails usually attain a much smaller size then smaller housing is ok, a large storage container can house several adults.
These snails will accept a lot of different fruits and vegetables, so it is worth experimenting with them, cucumber and sweet potato seems to be a favourite.
A lot of recent evidence has shown that both the immaculata and panthera form of this species are very likely to rasp at both the shell and bodies of other species of snail, and may inflict potentially fatal injuries. Ever wondered when do snails sleep or no? It isnĺt proven whether every immaculata would do this, but the evidence of snail-keepers seems to suggest that it is very likely, so keeping this species separate from all other snails is advised, they donĺt appear to cause any damage to each other though, they may not be able to recognise other species as snails, and may simply see them as a source of calcium.
This species readily accepts cuttlefish bone, and eat it at a faster rate than many other species, so a high dependency of calcium may be needed, this would maybe explain this strange behaviour in them.
Achatina immaculata usually lay around 30-60 eggs at a time, hatch rate is quite high, but usually slightly less than Achatina fulica, the baby snails are fairly quick growing, and require the same care as the adults, when they reach 2-3cm they can then be kept with the adults, if you keep this species I would suggest you donĺt freeze the eggs, though some keepers now do this, they arenĺt nearly as common as Achatina fulica, and if advertised responsibly, permanent homes should be easy to find for baby snails of this species.
There are several different forms of Achatina immaculata, one that was fairly common just a few years ago, but has since become much more difficult to find for sale is Achatina immaculata var. ôtwo tone.ö
Named because of its two tone brown/red and cream shell this form usually gets to around 10cm in captivity, though can sometimes reach over 15cm shell length. This form was originally known as Achatina dimidiata, a species that doesnt exist, this is because of a similar species that does actually exist, Archachatina dimidiata, which is also found in South Africa. Like this form, it has a two-toned shell, the major difference being that is is an Archachatina species, it lays large eggs, has a blunt apex, and a raised “v” on its tail, while Achatina immaculata var. “two tone” is clearly an Achatina species. Archachatina dimidiata arent currently kept in captivity.
Many snails of this form are stunted though, only getting to around 2-3cm and so suffer health problems, the reasons for these health problems are unknown, incorrect housing conditions has been suggested, but is unlikely as some keepers mention success in keeping them in identical conditions to that of stunted snails, inbreeding is a possibility, especially with only a small number of these snails available a few years ago, from which resulted in many of these snails offered over the internet, many in online auctions, and by suppliers of invertebrates online as young snails or hatchlings.
These snails require the same care of Achatina immaculata, though more heat and humidity is advised, keeping them at around 30c and very humid may prove successful, the original wild caught adults of this form proved very easy to keep and breed, it is the captive bred offspring that have proved much more difficult to keep.
Achatina immaculata with elongated, striped, or partially striped, marked shells are known as Achatina immaculata var. ôpantheraö these include the snails that were once sold as Achatina smithii.
This form has adapted very well to captivity, and is now the most likely form that is offered for sale, as many keepers has had success breeding and rearing them recently. The young snails grow very quickly, and are adult and fully mature at around 9-12cm.
The body colour is usually slightly darker than var. ôimmaculataö but still a lot lighter than the average Achatina fulica,
These require identical conditions to Achatina immaculata var. ôimmaculataö it is advised to keep them separate from them if possible though, as they will crossbreed and potentially weaken their own unique form, as some snails appear to show the traits of both panthera and immaculata form crossbreeding may have already taken place in captivity, many var. ôpantheraö still look very different to other immaculata forms though, and differentiating between them and the other forms is fairly easy.
As mentioned on the main immaculata page these snails are known to rasp at other species, and can potentially cause fatal injuries to all other species, so should be kept only with other immaculata, preferably only with other immaculata var. ôpanthera.ö for reasons mentioned above.