Do Mystery Snails Sleep? If So, How Long Do They Sleep?

Mystery snails are colorful animals mostly found in the waters of Southern America. With their vibrant shells, it is no wonder why these snails are a perfect addition to any freshwater tank.

Furthermore, they are low maintenance and do not require much expertise from aquarists. All in all, mystery snails make for excellent tank mates.

But do mystery snails sleep? And is it normal for them to remain still for a long time? In case you are wondering about these issues, keep reading to figure them all out!

Do Mystery Snails Sleep?

Yes. Like all animals, mystery snails have a repeated sleeping cycle. Every 2 to 3 days, they will fall asleep for roughly 13 to 15 hours.

After waking up, they remain alert for the next 30 hours before sleeping again. Minimal changes or disruptions of sleeping have little impact on snails’ health, though a lack of sleep for months can be detrimental to their well-being.

How Do You Tell If A Snail Is Sleeping?

Given the sluggish pace of snails, many people fail to pinpoint when the snails are sleeping. To complicate the situation, a lack of eyelids prevents aquarists from determining the state of their aquarium snails.

But rest assured that there are telltale signs to assist you here.

  • Their whole body is relaxing: Sleeping allows snails to recharge their energy. When not in the mode to defend themselves, snails will retract their tentacles and soften their feet.
  • Their shells are not placed directly over the bodies: When moving, snails need their shells to be solid, thus protecting their inner organs. But if a snail is sleeping, you will see its shell hanging slightly away from the body.
  • They remain completely static: Though slow, snails can still move a few inches within hours. If a snail stays in one place for an extended period without moving any part of its body, chances are it is sound asleep.

Why Are Mystery Snails Not Moving?

Now, we have stated that it is normal for snails to sleep, which explains their decision not to move. However, it is not always the case. Sometimes, you will see your snails lying at a particular spot for days.

What are the reasons for this, if not sleeping?


If infected with fungus or bacteria, snails will decide to hide inside their bodies until the diseases wear off. Stopping all physical activities is a way for snails to recover.


While it is extremely rare for snails to hibernate when placed inside a tank, this occurrence can still happen if a temperature shock ensues. During this period, snails will start to hibernate, saving their energies and refusing to adapt to the new environment.

You can also spot this situation with newly introduced snails. When the temperature difference is too high, some snails end up restraining all of their movements until things get better.

Unfavorable water conditions

Snails are highly sensitive to their surrounding environments. Any disruptions to their habitat cause snails to halt their activities and become lethargic. Hence, it is of utmost importance to maintain the parameters of your tank.

Anything from copper levels to nitrate and ammonia levels must be reduced to a minimum. The temperature range should be between 68 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pH levels must not exceed 8.4 or fall below 7.5.

Looming threats

Snails are known for their peaceful temperament. They do not engage in fights and tend to avoid all kinds of conflicts. If your snails are retreating into their shells, this can be their reaction to the presence of danger.

Whether the threat is real or not, make sure to scan your tank and find out if anything seems malicious towards the snails.


1. Do snails sleep inside their shell?

Not necessarily. Most scientists agree that snails sleep with their shells hanging loosely away from their bodies. Their tentacles are the only body parts reserved inside a shell.

This posture appears to be slightly awkward to the human eyes, but it is indeed more comfortable and relaxing for snails.

2. Is my mystery snail hibernating?

It is highly unlikely that captivated mystery snails fall into hibernation. For one thing, their source of food remains rather abundant, provided that the aquarists take good care of them. Moreover, most of the home tanks are well kept, with the temperature and other parameters under control.

If snails do not have to care about either of these issues, they are not inclined to hibernate. Note that hibernation acts as merely a survival mechanism when the situation becomes too dire for them.

That said, captivated mystery snails can still have their survival instincts triggered when the conditions are less than favorable. If you leave the tank unattended for a long time, expect your snails (and other species for that matter) to suffer gravely.

3. How long can mystery snails live without eating?

The nutrition intake required for snails to function healthily is scant. Without food, snails can still live up to weeks or even months. That said, you still have to provide them with a solid source of protein-based diets and plant matter.

It is better to present edible stuff inside the tank and wait for snails to chew on them, rather than leaving them starving.

4. How long do mystery snails live?

Most mystery snails have a lifespan of 1 to 2 years. However, their longevity can be compromised by other factors, such as food, temperature, and water conditions. Optimizing these elements is the best way to maximize your snails’ livelihoods.


Do mystery snails sleep? The answer is yes, they do! While the sleeping patterns of snails may seem peculiar compared to other animals, they still play a vital role in ensuring the health of your aquarium snails.