Rabbit Snail: Habitat, Water Characteristics, Care, Health, Feeding, Breeding

The Rabbit Snail, also known as Tylomelania sp., is a unique and fascinating freshwater snail species that has become increasingly popular among aquarium enthusiasts. With their distinct rabbit-like appearance and interesting behavior, these snails make for an excellent addition to any aquarium. In this comprehensive care guide, we will explore the characteristics, behavior, origin, natural habitat, ideal water conditions, tank mates, care, health, diet, breeding, and more of the Rabbit Snail.


The Rabbit Snail is easily distinguishable by its elongated and cone-shaped shell, which is typically brown or reddish-brown in color. The shell features several whorls and may have dark banding or markings. These snails have a unique appendage called an operculum, which they use to seal themselves inside their shells for protection.

One of the most striking features of the Rabbit Snail is its rabbit-like face, which is created by its long, fleshy tentacles. These tentacles are equipped with sensory organs that help the snail navigate its environment and locate food.


Rabbit Snails are known for their interesting and entertaining behavior. They are active during the day and tend to explore their surroundings, constantly searching for food. These snails are slow-moving, but they are excellent climbers and can often be seen exploring all levels of the aquarium, including plants, driftwood, and rocks.

One peculiar behavior of Rabbit Snails is their ability to withdraw almost completely into their shell, leaving only their operculum visible. This behavior is often seen when they feel threatened or want to protect themselves from adverse conditions.


Rabbit Snails are native to the freshwater rivers and lakes of Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia. They are endemic to this region and can be found in various locations, including Lake Matano, Lake Poso, and the Malili Lake System. The different species of Rabbit Snails have adapted to the specific conditions and habitats in these areas.

Natural Habitat

Due to their origin in Sulawesi, Rabbit Snails are often associated with the unique habitats found on the island. The snails inhabit freshwater bodies, including rivers, streams, and lakes. They are typically found in areas with a sandy or muddy substrate and a moderate to slow flow of water. These snails are adapted to both clear and brackish water conditions.

Ideal Water Characteristics

When setting up an aquarium for Rabbit Snails, it is important to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible. Maintaining the ideal water parameters ensures the health and well-being of these snails.

The ideal water temperature for Rabbit Snails ranges between 75°F and 82°F (24°C – 28°C). They prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH level between 7.0 and 7.8. The water hardness should be moderately to highly mineralized, with a GH (general hardness) of 6 – 15 dGH and a KH (carbonate hardness) of 2 – 10 dKH.

Rabbit Snails require a well-established aquarium with proper filtration and regular water changes to maintain stable water conditions. It is important to avoid sudden fluctuations in water parameters, as these can stress the snails and compromise their health.

Tank Mates

Rabbit Snails are generally peaceful and can coexist well with a variety of tank mates. However, it is important to carefully consider their compatibility with other species to prevent any potential issues. Snail-eating fish, such as loaches, pufferfish, and some cichlids, should be avoided as tank mates. They may view the snails as a food source and pose a threat to their well-being.

Good tank mates for Rabbit Snails include peaceful community fish, such as tetras, rasboras, guppies, and Corydoras catfish. Additionally, they can be housed with other peaceful snail species, such as Nerite Snails and Mystery Snails, as long as adequate space and resources are provided for all inhabitants.


Caring for Rabbit Snails involves providing them with a suitable aquarium environment and fulfilling their basic needs. Here are some essential care tips:

  • Aquarium Size: Rabbit Snails are best kept in larger aquariums to provide ample space for their movement and forage for food. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a small group of snails.
  • Substrate: These snails thrive in aquariums with a soft substrate, such as sand or fine gravel. The substrate should be at least 2 inches deep to allow the snails to bury themselves and search for food.
  • Decorations: Providing plenty of hiding places, such as caves, rocks, and driftwood, is essential for Rabbit Snails. They enjoy climbing and exploring their environment, so various ornaments and plants can be added to create a stimulating habitat.
  • Water Quality: As mentioned earlier, maintaining stable water parameters is crucial for the health of Rabbit Snails. Regular water testing, filtration, and partial water changes are essential to keep the aquarium clean and well-maintained.
  • Feeding: Rabbit Snails are predominantly herbivorous and require a well-balanced diet. They feed on algae, biofilm, detritus, and decaying plant matter. Supplementing their diet with commercial snail pellets, blanched vegetables, and algae wafers ensures they receive the necessary nutrients.

Health, Diseases & Parasites

Rabbit Snails are generally hardy and resilient, but like any living organism, they are susceptible to certain health issues. Some common diseases and parasites that can affect Rabbit Snails include:

  • Shell Erosion: Poor water quality and mineral deficiencies can lead to shell erosion in Rabbit Snails. Maintaining proper water parameters and providing adequate calcium supplementation can help prevent this issue.
  • Parasites: Internal and external parasites, such as flukes and worms, can infest Rabbit Snails. Regular observation and maintaining clean water conditions can help prevent and treat parasitic infestations.
  • Injury or Damage: Rabbit Snails can sometimes damage their shells due to rough handling or aggression from tank mates. Providing ample hiding places and ensuring compatibility with other species can minimize the risk of injury.

Diet and Feeding

Rabbit Snails are primarily herbivorous, but they also consume small amounts of animal matter. In the wild, they feed on algae, biofilm, decaying plant matter, and detritus. Replicating their natural diet in captivity is important to promote their health and growth.

Feeding Rabbit Snails a varied diet is essential. Along with their natural food sources in the aquarium, they should be supplemented with additional foods. Commercial snail pellets, blanched vegetables (such as zucchini, spinach, or lettuce), and algae wafers are all suitable options. It is important not to overfeed, as excess food can pollute the water and lead to poor water quality.


Rabbit Snails are simultaneous hermaphrodites, which means they possess both male and female reproductive organs. This allows them to self-fertilize and reproduce without a separate mate. However, they still require proper conditions and stimulation to trigger the breeding process.

To encourage breeding, provide the snails with optimal water conditions, a varied diet, and ample hiding places. Females will lay eggs on different surfaces, such as plants or rocks, and then seal them with a gelatinous substance. The eggs will hatch within a few weeks, and the baby snails will emerge.


What is a Rabbit Snail?

Rabbit Snails are a type of freshwater aquarium snail that are known for their unique appearance and grazing behavior.

What are the different types of Rabbit Snails?

There are several different species of Rabbit Snails, including Tylomelania sp., also known as Sulawesi Rabbit Snails, and Carea sp., also known as Indonesian Rabbit Snails.

What is the scientific name of Rabbit Snail?

The scientific name for Rabbit Snails is Tylomelania.

Where do Rabbit Snails come from?

Rabbit Snails are native to Southeast Asia, specifically the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.

How big do Rabbit Snails grow?

Rabbit Snails can grow to be about 2-3 inches in length.

What are the ideal water parameters for Rabbit Snails?

Ideal water parameters for Rabbit Snails include a temperature of 75-82°F, a pH level of 7.5-8.5, and medium to hard water with a hardness of 8-15 dGH.

Can Rabbit Snails live in freshwater or brackish water?

Rabbit Snails are best suited for freshwater aquariums.

Do Rabbit Snails require any special tank requirements?

Rabbit Snails do not have any special tank requirements, but they do appreciate plenty of hiding places and areas to graze on algae and biofilm.

What should I feed my Rabbit Snails?

Rabbit Snails are omnivorous and will eat a variety of food, including algae, biofilm, blanched vegetables, and sinking pellets or flakes.

Can Rabbit Snails eat aquarium plants?

Rabbit Snails will occasionally graze on soft or dying plant material, but they generally do not pose a threat to healthy aquarium plants.

Are Rabbit Snails compatible with other tankmates?

Rabbit Snails are generally peaceful and can be kept with other peaceful tankmates, such as small fish, shrimp, and other snails.

Do Rabbit Snails require a specific water temperature?

Rabbit Snails prefer a water temperature of 75-82°F.

How long do Rabbit Snails live?

Rabbit Snails have a lifespan of about 2-3 years under ideal conditions.

How do I acclimate Rabbit Snails to my aquarium?

To acclimate Rabbit Snails to your aquarium, you can float the bag containing the snails in the aquarium water for about 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature, then slowly add small amounts of aquarium water to the bag over the course of about an hour before releasing them into the tank.

Are Rabbit Snails sensitive to water changes?

Rabbit Snails can be sensitive to sudden changes in water parameters, so it is best to make gradual changes if needed.

Can Rabbit Snails regenerate damaged or lost body parts?

Rabbit Snails do not have the ability to regenerate lost or damaged body parts.

How often should I clean the tank with Rabbit Snails?

It is recommended to perform regular water changes and clean the tank as needed, but Rabbit Snails generally do a good job of cleaning up after themselves.

Can Rabbit Snails climb out of the tank?

Rabbit Snails are not known for climbing out of tanks, but it is always a good idea to ensure that your tank has a secure lid to prevent any escapes.

Are Rabbit Snails nocturnal?

Rabbit Snails are primarily active during the day, but they may also come out at night to graze if there is enough food available.

Do Rabbit Snails have a shell on their body?

Yes, Rabbit Snails have a coiled, spiral-shaped shell on their body that they use for protection.

Can Rabbit Snails be kept in a small aquarium?

Rabbit Snails prefer to have ample space to explore and graze, so it is best to provide them with a tank size of at least 10 gallons.

Do Rabbit Snails breed easily in captivity?

Rabbit Snails breed relatively easily in captivity, especially when provided with the appropriate conditions and diet.

How can I encourage breeding in Rabbit Snails?

To encourage breeding in Rabbit Snails, you can provide them with plenty of hiding places, ample food sources, and stable water parameters.

What is the incubation period for Rabbit Snail eggs?

The incubation period for Rabbit Snail eggs is typically around 2-3 weeks.

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

Rabbit Snails are livebearers and do not lay eggs. Instead, they give birth to live young.

Can I separate the Rabbit Snail eggs from the adult snails?

It is not recommended to separate the Rabbit Snail eggs from the adult snails as they require a specific environment to hatch and develop properly.

How long does it take for Rabbit Snail eggs to hatch?

It typically takes around 4-6 weeks for Rabbit Snail eggs to hatch, but this can vary depending on the temperature and water conditions.

Can Rabbit Snails breed with other types of snails?

No, Rabbit Snails are known to only breed with other Rabbit Snails and cannot breed with other types of snails.

What are some common diseases that affect Rabbit Snails?

Some common diseases that affect Rabbit Snails include shell rot, bacterial infections, and parasites. Proper water conditions and regular maintenance can help prevent these diseases.

How do I identify the gender of a Rabbit Snail?

The gender of a Rabbit Snail can be identified by examining their reproductive organs. Males have a cone-shaped reproductive organ, while females have a round-shaped reproductive organ.

Can Rabbit Snails change their gender?

No, Rabbit Snails cannot change their gender. They are born either male or female and stay that way throughout their lifespan.

Do Rabbit Snails require a sand or gravel substrate?

Yes, Rabbit Snails prefer a sand or fine gravel substrate as they like to burrow and sift through the substrate for food.

What are some common signs of a healthy Rabbit Snail?

Some common signs of a healthy Rabbit Snail include active movement, antennae movement, smooth and intact shell, and a good appetite.

Can Rabbit Snails tolerate high levels of ammonia or nitrite?

No, Rabbit Snails are sensitive to high levels of ammonia and nitrite. It is important to maintain good water quality to ensure their health and well-being.

How do Rabbit Snails react to bright or dim lighting?

Rabbit Snails prefer dim to moderate lighting. Bright lighting can stress them out, while dim lighting provides a more natural and comfortable environment for them.

Can Rabbit Snails tolerate higher levels of nitrates?

Rabbit Snails can tolerate low to moderate levels of nitrates, but it is important to keep nitrates in check as high levels can be detrimental to their health.

What is the recommended tank size for keeping Rabbit Snails?

A tank size of at least 10 gallons is recommended for keeping Rabbit Snails, as they require space to forage and explore.Are Rabbit Snails suitable for a community aquarium?

Rabbit Snails are generally peaceful and can be kept in a community aquarium with other peaceful fish and invertebrates.

Can Rabbit Snails live in a planted tank?

Yes, Rabbit Snails can live in a planted tank. They can help with algae control and their burrowing behavior can actually benefit the plants.

Do Rabbit Snails require a specific pH level?

Rabbit Snails can tolerate a wide range of pH levels, but a slightly acidic to neutral pH is generally recommended for their overall well-being.

Can Rabbit Snails survive in low oxygen levels?

No, Rabbit Snails require well-oxygenated water and cannot survive in low oxygen levels. Proper aeration and water circulation are important for their health.

Are Rabbit Snails known to be escape artists?

No, Rabbit Snails are not known to be escape artists. They typically stay in the tank as long as the water conditions and environment are suitable for them.

Can Rabbit Snails survive in low temperatures?

Rabbit Snails are tropical freshwater snails and cannot survive in low temperatures. They require a stable temperature range of around 72-82°F (22-28°C).

What should I do if Rabbit Snails are fighting with each other?

If Rabbit Snails are fighting, it may indicate aggression or territorial behavior. It is best to provide them with enough space and hiding spots to minimize such conflicts.

Are Rabbit Snails known to be shy or aggressive?

Rabbit Snails are generally known to be peaceful and shy creatures. They rarely show aggression towards other tank inhabitants.

Do Rabbit Snails have any natural predators?

Rabbit Snails have few natural predators in the wild, but they may be preyed upon by certain fish species, other snails, and predatory invertebrates.

Can Rabbit Snails live in a saltwater aquarium?

No, Rabbit Snails are freshwater species and cannot live in a saltwater aquarium. They require specific freshwater conditions to survive.

Are Rabbit Snails considered to be invasive species?

No, Rabbit Snails are not considered invasive species. They are not known to have a negative impact on natural ecosystems when kept in a proper aquarium environment.

How can I prevent overpopulation of Rabbit Snails?

To prevent overpopulation of Rabbit Snails, it is important to control their breeding. This can be done by keeping only a limited number of snails and ensuring proper sex ratios.

Where can I buy Rabbit Snails for my aquarium?

Rabbit Snails can be purchased from local fish stores, specialized aquarium shops, or online retailers. It is important to choose reputable sources to ensure healthy and ethically sourced snails.


The Rabbit Snail is a fascinating and charming addition to any freshwater aquarium. With their rabbit-like appearance and interesting behavior, they add a unique element to the underwater ecosystem. By providing them with the appropriate tank setup, suitable tank mates, and a well-balanced diet, Rabbit Snails can thrive and bring joy to their owners. Remember to regularly monitor their health, maintain stable water conditions, and enjoy observing these amazing creatures in your aquarium.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons, License.

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