Best Rabbit Snail Care Guide: Size, Food, Lifespan

The rabbit snail is a peculiar looking freshwater snail. Also known as the elephant snail, these aquarium snails are peaceful and spend most of their time exploring their surroundings. Rabbit snails are easy to care for and help to keep your aquarium clean.

NameRabbit snail
Common NameRabbit snail, Elephant Snail, Sulawesi snail
Scientific NameTylomelania
Tank size (minimal – optimal)20 gallons (~20 – 40 liters)
Keeping/CareEasy
BreedingEasy-Medium 
SizeUp to 10 – 12 cm (~3 – 4,5 inches) depending on species
Optimal Temperature26 – 30°C  (~77°F – 86°F)
Optimal PH7.8 – 8.2 (7.3 – 8.5)
Optimal GH6 – 8 (4 – 12)
Optimal KH4 – 8 (2 – 15)
Optimal TDS100 – 200 (50 – 400)
NitrateLess than 10 ppm
DietAlgae eater/omnivore
TemperamentPeaceful
Life span1 – 3 years
Color FormHuge variety of colors and patterns (orange, brown, dark, white, and with spots)
Species Overview

Rabbit Snail Images

Behavior

Rabbit snails are very active snails (despite snails being slow-moving in general). They move about the tank by contracting their muscles which arches their shells and pulls them along.

They tend to be oblivious to their tankmates and go about exploring and scavenging. They prefer to graze on algae and other detritus all day.

They do get tired, so if you see your rabbit snail lying on the bottom of the tank, there’s no cause for immediate concern. Rabbit snails tend to rest motionless at the bottom of the tank. Oftentimes, they withdraw inside their shells. However, prolonged withdrawal and lack of movement should be cause for concern.

Appearance

As we mentioned earlier, there are several types of Rabbit Snails available. Typically, they’re named after specific coloration of their shells or body. For example, there are Black Rabbit Snails, Red Rabbit Snails, and so on.
Rabbit snails come in a variety of colors. Usually, they are named by their color so there are Black Rabbit Snails, Red Rabbit Snails, etc.

They all look the same (both male and female), the only difference at times being their color. These snails have rabbit-like facial features and so are named rabbit snails. They have two drooping antennae at the top of their heads that look like rabbit ears. They have elongated faces and their mouths face downward to help with scavenging.

Unlike most snails that have smooth, gelatinous skin, rabbit snails have wrinkled skin. Hence their other name, Elephant Snail (given their wrinkled skin and trunk-like mouth).

Their shells come in many colors and can be solid brown or black or a mixture of shades. The shell is long, spiraled, and cone-like. Rabbit snails have longer shells than most snail species. They have a small operculum that acts as a trap door to protect the snail if it feels that there is danger.

Size

The average size of a rabbit snail depends on the age of the snail. Older rabbit snails have longer shells and bodies. However, most snails in stores are about 2 inches long in length. Fully grown, rabbit snails can grow between 3-5 inches.

Lifespan

The average rabbit snail lifespan is about 1 to 3 years. Of course, under healthy aquarium conditions and with proper feeding, they can live a bit longer.

Diet

Rabbit snails are scavengers and will eat soft algae and decaying plant matter. But, rabbit snails do best when their diet includes supplements.

Food supplements rich in calcium are important when feeding a rabbit snail. Calcium promotes shell growth and health. Bottom feeder pellets, algae wafers, and fish flakes are also ok to feed snails. Blanched vegetables, particularly green leafy ones like lettuce are also good for a rabbit snail’s diet.

Varieties

These are the different types of rabbit snails:

  • Yellow Poso Rabbit Snails
  • Chocolate Poso Rabbit Snails
  • Golden Spotted Rabbit Snails
  • Yellow Spotted Rabbit Snails
  • White Spotted Rabbit Snails
  • Black Rabbit Snails
  • Orange Rabbit Snails
  • Gold Rabbit Snails. 

Reproduction

Rabbit snails reproduce by laying eggs. They are not asexual so fertilization occurs between a male and a female. When rabbit snail breeding occurs, the female rabbit snail carries her eggs and releases a batch every 4 to 6 weeks. Inside the gelatinous egg sac will be a fully developed baby rabbit snail.

Rabbit snail eggs are small, oval in shape, and white in color. They usually lay their eggs between plants, in the substrate, and other debris. Once the baby rabbit snail emerges from the egg sac it is usually very hungry. The first thing it does is search for soft algae and other food to eat.

Rabbit snail egg.
Rabbit Snail Eggs.

With regard to breeding, unlike other freshwater snails, rabbit snails do not reproduce quickly. So, there’s no need to worry about these snails overrunning your fish tank.

Growth Rate

Rabbit snails grow to about 3-5 inches in length. The growth rate of a rabbit snail will depend on things like health, diet, tank conditions. It typically takes a year for a rabbit snail to reach its largest size.

Tank Mates

The rabbit snail is peaceful, so it is best to keep them with other peaceful aquarium pets. When threatened, rabbit snails retreat to their shells for protection. Here are some good tanks mates for rabbit snails:

Freshwater aquarium fish like:

Other Snails:

Some species of aquarium shrimp:

As always, be sure to avoid aggressive types like Cichlids, Crayfish, pet crabs, Goldfish, and loaches, as they can eat, injure or kill the snails.

Tank Size

The minimum recommended tank size for a rabbit snail 30 gallons and up. At 30 gallons, it is sufficient in size and water volume to maintain the life cycle of the snail.

Water Parameters

When it comes to rabbit snail care, it is important to maintain optimal water parameters. Rabbit snails prefer an alkaline pH which helps maintain their shells. They also like warmer water and have difficulty reproducing in cooler environments. They also tend to be less active if the temperature isn’t warm.

  • Water Temperature: 76 – 84 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Aquarium pH: 7.2 – 7.5
  • Lighting: Normal lighting to semi-dim lighting

Things To Consider

How To Buy Healthy Rabbit Snails

When you go to the store to buy rabbit snails, check that the snail is active, moving, or stuck to hard surfaces. Rabbit snails that are floating, motionless, upside-down may be dead or near-death.

Their shells should not have cracks, erosion, or other signs of wear and tear. A damaged shell indicates poor health. Also, check to make sure that they do not have damaged tentacles, eyes, etc. before buying.

Live Plants

Once well-fed, rabbit snails won’t eat live aquarium plants. But, there are instances where they may eat Java Ferns. Other than that, it is safe to keep other aquarium plants in the same tank as rabbit snails.

References

Frequently Asked Questions

How do rabbit snails reproduce?

Rabbit snails can start breeding when they reach about 1.5 inches in size. The female carries a fertilized egg within her and releases it after 4 to 6 weeks. Female rabbit snails release fully-formed snail babies within a small, gelatinous “egg” sac. They are dioecious (male and female) and sexually monomorphic, male and female are identical. Rabbit snails do not reproduce asexually.

Do rabbit snails burrow?

Rabbit snails do burrowRabbit snails are more likely to burrow if there is a sandy substrate on the tank bottom.

Will Assassin snails kill rabbit snails?

Assassin snails generally do not attack mature mystery snails, Japanese trapdoor snails, nerite snailsrabbit snails, gold Inca snails, and Ivory snails. This is because these snails are usually bigger than assassin snails. But, it is still a good idea to check the tank to ensure that all your pets are safe.

Do I need to give my Rabbit Snails algae wafers?

Yes, it is a good idea to supplement your rabbit snail’s diet with algae wafers. Though they are omnivores, rabbit snails prefer to feed on algae and algae wafers are a good way to make sure they get all they need.

Do I need to have a separate rabbit snail breeding tank?

There is no need to have your rabbit snails breeding in a separate tank. The most important thing to consider is that the water temperature is optimal for reproduction.

What is the average lifespan for Rabbit Snails?

In captivity, the average lifespan of a rabbit snail is 3 years. The better the living conditions, the longer these snails will live.

How many eggs does the female Rabbit Snail lay at a time?

rabbit snail eggs

Unlike most snails, rabbit snails do not reproduce at a rapid rate. Female rabbit snails lay 2 or 3 eggs per breeding cycle.

Do I need to add a calcium supplement for my Rabbit Snails?

Calcium supplements help your rabbit snail develop a strong shell. For example, adding boiled cuttlebone can improve your rabbit snail’s health.

Video: Rabbit Snails Breeding