Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

First Pet

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Nonnie, Jun 30, 2020.


  1. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    16,833
    Likes Received:
    9,063
    My brother wants to get his 4 year old his first pet. Nothing furry or too 'fancy' (their words). He loves bugs and insects. His mum, not so much.

    They were going to get him a fish tank, but ive talked them out of that as i think thats probably too much work in terms of water quality, filter, water changes etc.

    They are now considering GALS, which i have zero knowledge about. Does anyone know any good websites to direct them too, that gives info about housing, substrate, food etc? And alos where would be the best place to buy some? I see eBay has loads.
     
  2. PawsOnMe

    PawsOnMe PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Messages:
    4,678
    Likes Received:
    8,587
    What are GALS? Tried googling but nothing came up.

    I had a pet stick insect as a kid, interesting little critters and easy to keep.
     
    kimthecat likes this.
  3. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    15,748
    Likes Received:
    19,696
    I was going to say Stick insects.
     
    bordie and lullabydream like this.
  4. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    16,833
    Likes Received:
    9,063
    Giant African Land Snails.
     
    PawsOnMe and rona like this.
  5. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Messages:
    38,910
    Likes Received:
    24,144
    I love them myself :D

    Giant Land snails
     
    PawsOnMe likes this.
  6. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Messages:
    27,552
    Likes Received:
    12,553
    I think it's @Leanne77 who keeps GALs so she will probably be able to help.
     
    Leanne77 likes this.
  7. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2013
    Messages:
    14,783
    Likes Received:
    22,371
    Giant African land Snail

    Know very little about them except they breed like crazy.

    I think there was a thing when my sisters were young that everyone here had stick insects.. All I can remember because I was about 4 they bred like crazy too! No idea on the breed.
     
    PawsOnMe likes this.
  8. PawsOnMe

    PawsOnMe PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Messages:
    4,678
    Likes Received:
    8,587
    Thank you, I'd never heard of them as a pet. I went through a phase of keeping common garden snails as a child and would have no doubt loved a GALS too! :D

    Just googled them and there is lots of info about how to keep them.
    https://www.amentsoc.org/insects/caresheets/giant-african-land-snails.html
    YouTube will no doubt have videos of people who own them and how to care for them too.
     
    rona likes this.
  9. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2013
    Messages:
    14,783
    Likes Received:
    22,371
    My friends daughter does this.. She 'builds' homes for the snails and calls every snail she finds a different name. She adores them. Her older sister hates them because they eat her plants in the garden!
    Apparently older sister was the same when younger though!
     
    PawsOnMe likes this.
  10. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Messages:
    27,552
    Likes Received:
    12,553
    If I'd known these existed when I was a child I'd have been enchanted by them, I was another one who loved snails, we had a water snail in our aquarium I named Petra, but Petra became Petra & family pretty swiftly
     
    PawsOnMe and lullabydream like this.
  11. Leanne77

    Leanne77 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,612
    Likes Received:
    2,558
    Yes, it's me who keeps GALS, as well as lots of other invertebrates.

    There is alot of incorrect information on snail husbrandry on the internet, and there are also a huge amount of bad 'breeders' and sellers, especially on ebay. The most reputable places to buy GALS are specific invertebrate or snail internet shops such as Bugznbits, Bugzuk, Collective Snails etc. Snail keeping is alot more involved than people think as they have specific dietary, temperature and humidity requirements. It's not a case of putting them in any old enclosure with a bit of compost and feeding them cucumber and lettuce. Most species will require a heat mat and thermostat for a start, which can add a fair bit on to the cost of keeping them.

    My suggestion would be stick insects, something that is child friendly and quite robust. Lots of people opt for the common Indian Stick insect but with thousands of species to choose from, the are plenty of options. Many species have spikes which they like to use on human flesh, and many also emit noxious liquids which can irritate the skin so for kids they arent a good choice. I always think Lamponius guerini, or Guadeloupe stick insect are an excellent choice. They are pretty docile and slow moving, fairly large and eat a range of leaves which are easily obtainable.

    If you need any advice then please feel free to ask. I am less about the dogs nowadays and more about the invertebrates!
     
    lullabydream likes this.
  12. Leanne77

    Leanne77 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,612
    Likes Received:
    2,558
    That link is an excellent example of very poor information. Cucumber and lettuce have zero nutritional value so are not good choices to feed every day. Their temperature ranges of 20-25 is also incorrect as this very much depends on species. Keep an Achatina achatina at 20, or even 25 degrees and you will have a snail who will seal over and eventually die as they usually like around 30 degrees.
    I'm afraid I did not read any more of the article as the first couple of paragraphs put me off.
     
    PawsOnMe likes this.
  13. PawsOnMe

    PawsOnMe PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Messages:
    4,678
    Likes Received:
    8,587
    We had baby stick insects all around the house, they just kept laying eggs and hatching before we could get rid of them!
    Ah that's good to know, sorry to have shared crude information! I'm sure there will be knowledgable information on the internet though it's just digging for it through misinformation!
     
  14. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    16,833
    Likes Received:
    9,063
    Thanks.

    I did have a Google, and there was so much contradictory info out there, hence my making the thread. Google does not have all the answers.

    Ill mention the stick insects. I dont know if they have considered those.

    Life span is a consideration - nothing that has a very short one as hes a sensitive little boy. Another reason to put them off getting him fish.
     
  15. Leanne77

    Leanne77 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,612
    Likes Received:
    2,558
    No need to be sorry, you didnt write the article! However, it proves my point that people read all the misinformation, go and buy a snail from somebody who doesnt cull runts or breeds unhealthy specimens, and think they are an easy and cheap pet. There are hundreds of different species and if kept correctly they are time consuming and costly.

    Another point to consider is that GALS are nocturnal so the chances of a 4 year old seeing them active is about zero! They can have a lifespan of 10 years or more but this is very rare nowadays as they are generally inbred and may not last more than a couple of years.
    Stick insects fair even less on the lifespan scale and generally last only 12-18 months. Disposing of eggs is easy. I line the bottom of my vivs with puppy pads and then when I refresh their food and clean them out I brush all the eggs into a small tub and then freeze them so that a non native species does not get into our ecosystem. Lining the viv with newspaper or kitchen towel also works just as well. If you put soil in the bottom you will never find the eggs and end up overrun!
     
    lullabydream and PawsOnMe like this.
  16. Leanne77

    Leanne77 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,612
    Likes Received:
    2,558
    Admittedly not everybody's cup of tea but what about a couple of hissing cockroaches? These can live for around 7 years I believe and are easy to keep. The only issue comes when you have males and females together as they breed (obvs) and the tiny nymphs escape almost any container and hide in your house! If you keep the same sex together thats not an issue.

    Another suggestion of a very easy animal to keep are isopods (or woodlice). Isopod keeping is a hobby in itself and there are so many beautiful species such as the clown or zebra isopod. No specialist equipment is needed and only a little bit of basic knowledge.

    20191203_131401.jpg
     
    rona, Nonnie and lullabydream like this.
  17. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2013
    Messages:
    14,783
    Likes Received:
    22,371
    @Leanne77 I was going to suggest hissing cockroach. I knew someone who ran those meet animal type thing. Hissing cockroach was always popular with the children.. One didn't hiss much though seemed to love being handled though. Would run to a hand and just sort of stay there.
     
  18. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    16,833
    Likes Received:
    9,063
    Ive talked him into garden snails and a fake fish tank.

    Bugs/insects of any description are a no no. My SIL wont have anything like that in the house. She did like the butterfly kit i got the two boys though.
     
    rona likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice