The Keeping of Live Snails is Legislated Worldwide
Below are a few countries that have specific laws concerning the keeping of live snails for any purpose.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

An important message from the. Canadian Food Inspection Agency:


The following molluscs are from from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency web site: In order to protect Canada's resource base the following pests are regulated in Canada. ( The list may be revised at any time)
Achatina achatina L. giant west African snail N.D.
Achatina fulica Bowdich giant African snail N.D.
Archachatina purpurea Gmelin giant African land snail N.D.
Archachatina ventricosa Gould giant African land snail N.D.
NOTE: All the Achatina snails are prohibited except Achatina achatina which requires a permit.
Cepaea nemoralis L. banded wood snail N.D.
Helix aspersa Muller brown garden snail escargot petit-gris
Helix spp. terrestrial snails gastéropodes terrestres du genre Helix
Otala lactea Müller milk snail escargot espagnol
Otala vermiculata Müller N/A N.D.
Theba pisana Mueller white garden snail escargot blanc

NOTE: The only terrestrial snails that are permitted for live import, and do enter often, are the Otala snails of the Mediterranean.

Please contact us for more information:
Douglas Parker
(613) 759-6908 / / Facsimile/Télécopier: (613) 759-6938
Identification and Regulatory Entomologist, Centre for Plant Quarantine Pests, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Entomologiste d'identification et de quarantaine, Centre des phytoravageurs de quarantine, Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments
Room 4125/ Pièce 4125, K. W. Neatby Bldg/ édif K. W. Neatby
960 Carling Ave/ 960, avenue Carling/ Ottawa CANADA K1A 0C6


The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
The Animal and Plant Health inspection Service (APHIS) is responsible for protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, administering the Animal Welfare Act, and carrying out wildlife damage management activities.

4700 River Road, Unit 133
Riverdale, MD 20737

United States Department of Agricultural

The USDA specifically prohibits interstate movement or importation into the United States of the Achatina fulica (Giant African Snail) (see NOTE:), the Pomacea canaliculata (Channeled or Golden Apple Snail) and the Rumina decollata (Decollate Snail). These molluscs are banned for interstate movement or import into the United States.

Permits are required for the importation of all live snails and slugs to the USA . Imported Snails may not be brought into the United States for breeding purposes.

Re: Educational Use of live molluscs: Basically, any snail may be used in the classroom, assuming that it fits the criteria of the science curricula that you use. However, some snails are not established in certain areas of the United States and every attempt is made by the USDA to eliminate risk of establishment of exotic species of snails in places where they do not exist to protect the environment and reduce agricultural risk. A USDA permit is required if the live snails you plan to use, move across State lines (or are imported from outside the U.S.) to get to your school. The best and easiest plan for your class would be to use snails that are native to your part of the country.
MOST IMPORTANT: "please protect your native wildlife by not releasing any living laboratory organisms into the environment. "

An important message from the US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
RE: Giant African Land Snails

To Teachers and Educators,

Giant African snails are being used increasingly in science lessons in schools. These snails are illegal in the continental United States because they are highly invasive, and can cause extensive damage to important food crops and other agricultural and natural resources. These snails can also pose a risk to human health (for information, see, or call your state health department). The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is interested in finding these snails, and encourages those using these snails in classrooms, nature facilities or keeping them as pets to turn them in voluntarily without fear of penalty.

If you have a giant African land snail PLEASE DO NOT RELEASE IT INTO THE ENVIRONMENT OR GIVE IT AWAY; OR, or if you find giant African land snail, PLEASE report it to your State Department of Agriculture (you will find this office listed under State government in your phone book, or on the web at:, or to the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in your state (you will find this office in your state listed under Federal or U.S. government in your phone book, or on the web at:

"Giant African land snail" is the common name used to describe any of three snail species native to Africa and considered serious agricultural pests in the United States. The giant African snail (Achatina fulica), the giant Ghana tiger snail (Achatina achatina), and margies (Archachatina marginata) are large, terrestrial snails that reach up to 20 cm (8 inches) in length and 10 cm (4 inches) in maximum diameter. These snails are about the size of an average-size adult fist. The brownish shell with darker brown vertical stripes covers at least half the length of the snail.

Giant African snails have a voracious appetite. They are known to eat at least 500 different types of plants, including peanut, beans, peas, cucumbers, and melons. If fruits or vegetables are not available, the snails will eat a wide variety of ornamental plants, tree bark, and even paint and stucco on houses.

These snails also reproduce rapidly, laying as many as 100 to 400 eggs in a single session. Snails contain both male and female reproductive organs, and can lay up to 1,200 eggs per year.

There are alternative snail species that may be used with your science curricula. Ideally, snails that you collect locally can be used to teach about native fauna, and these can be used without a permit. Currently the U.S. Department of Agriculture is reviewing permit procedures for exotic mollusks for educational purposes on a state by state basis. For more information on obtaining a permit, please visit

**At the present time snails found in the United States have not been shown to be disease carriers. For more information, see the following web site:


Generally Speaking!

What To Do If you think that you may have an Illegal Snail and /or you no Longer Want your pet snail!
Contact one of the below sites and ask them if they can: firstly help you to identify your snail and secondly ask them if they know how to properly dispose of your unwanted pet.


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