The Green Wolf Snail Profile

The Green Wolf Snail (Edentulina obese) Profile

Edentulina obese (also known as the Green wolf) is one of the most colorful and interesting land snails that hobbyists have attempted to keep in captivity. Unfortunately, in most cases, the snails died within a few months for unclear reasons.

It is known that Edentulina obese is a predatory species, and their captivity requires a sufficiently spacious terrarium with a consistently high temperature and humidity.

Note: I need to start off by mentioning that information on Edentulina obese in scientific literature is scanty. Generally, in my guides, you can find a lot of references to official studies, research, and experiments. The point is that I want to provide as much information as I can for everyone who reads them.

This time it was so hard to find anything that I had to search for information on German and Russian forums, so the guide is mostly based on the experience of people who owned them.

If you’re curious about Green wolf snails and their behavior, growth, feeding, etc., read on.

Quick Notes about Green Wolf Snails

Name Green wolf snail
Other Names
African predatory snail
Scientific Name Edentulina obese
Type
Terrestrial (arboreal)
Tank size (minimum) any
Keeping Very difficult
Breeding Not known
Size 1 – 1.5 inches (2.5 – 4 cm)
Optimal Temperature 24 – 27°C (75 – 80°F)
Optimal Humidity 70 – 90%
Substrate Any
Diet Carnivorous
Temperament Aggressive
Life span presumably 2 – 3 years
Color Form Green to yellow

Interesting fact: In an attempt to control African snails (such as Achatina fulica), researchers experimented with using Edentulina obese as a biological control method. The findings revealed that these snails were only effective in hunting relatively small snails, and posed no threat to adult African snails.

Etymology of Edentulina Obese

The etymology of this species and genus is not fully known and has not been described anywhere.

I assume that the genus “Edentulina” got its name from the Latin word “Edentatus” meaning “Toothless”. The suffix “-ina” is often used to form feminine diminutive forms in taxonomy.

In Latin, the term “Obese” itself comes from the Latin word “Obesus,” which means “having eaten until fat”.

Therefore, the full name suggests a small, toothless snail that eats until completely full.

Distribution of Green Wolf Snails

The Green Wolf Snail (Edentulina obese) Profile destributionEdentulina obese is exclusive to East Africa, specifically in Kenya and Tanzania, within an altitude range of 0 to 1,640 feet (up to 500m).

There was an attempt to introduce these snails to Hawaii but it was unsuccessful.

Habitat of Green Wolf Snails

In its natural habitat, Edentulina obesa resides in forested areas.

These snails are generally active only during the rainy seasons, which occur twice a year. During this period they prefer to stay on trees and hunt for their prey there. However, during a dry season, they become inactive and rest in the ground until the conditions become cooler and wetter.

It was noticed that Green wolf snails occur in a very low density (approximately one animal per 1,076.4 square feet or 100 square meters). 

Description of Green Wolf Snails

The Green Wolf Snail (Edentulina obese) Profile
photo source

Size. These snails are relatively small in size. Adult individuals typically grow up to 1 – 1.5 inches (2.5 – 4 cm) in length.

Shell. Their shell is elongated and cone-shaped with a rounded apex.

Shell color. This species has a striking yellow-green shell, occasionally adorned with yellow hues. The shell’s pigmentation is noticeable only while the snail occupies it. Once the host dies, the shell turns white and partially transparent.
Note: The anatomy of this species is not yet described but some researchers believe that the green hue is not in the snail’s shell but in its mantle, which wraps around the interior walls of the shell and shines through them, giving the shell a bright color.

Body. The body is elastic, yellowish-gray, narrow, and elongated. Their bodies can extend 2-3 times the size of the shell.

Tentacles. The lower tentacles are also quite long and mobile. A thin stripe runs along the neck, and the head and tentacles may be slightly darker than the main background of the body.

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Lifespan of Green Wolf Snails

Currently, there is no data available on the maximum lifespan for Edentulina obesa in the wild.

Unfortunately, theirlifespan as pets is extremely short. As mentioned earlier, in captivity, these snails typically live from 3 months to 1 year since they have more requirements than other land snails. Under optimal conditions, presumably they can live for 2 – 3 years.

Their life expectancy depends on a number of factors such as feeding, poor living conditions, and shipment stress.

Typical Behavior of Green Wolf Snails

Edentulina obesa is a predatory snail species.

Being primarily active during the night serves as a strategy to both avoid predators and hunt other mollusks, which are also generally nocturnal creatures.

After consuming their prey, these snails may retreat into their shells for several days. During this period, they remain closed as they digest their food.

Interestingly, Green wolf snails display a preference for arboreal habitats, opting to sit on trees rather than crawl on the ground.

Even though they are capable of burying themselves, they only do that in rare cases and when environmental conditions are completely unfavorable. This behavior aligns with their inclination to stay off the ground as much as possible.

Generally, these snails are not social. Even more, they can be aggressive towards each other especially if they are very hungry and do not sense other food around.

Features:

  • Social: No
  • Active: At night
  • Peaceful: No
  • Burrowers: No
  • Arboreal: Yes

Diet of Green Wolf Snails

The Green Wolf Snail (Edentulina obese) Profile eatingEdentulina obesa is an active predator. This carnivorous snail is feeding specialists on other mollusks (such as slugs, worms, and other snails like Subulina octona, Garden snails, Achatina fulica, etc.).

These snails have very poor eyesight. Therefore, they rely on extremely developed olfactory organs which allow them to track a snail by following the mucus deposited by it. 

Once the snail approaches its prey, it strikes in a fast movement from a distance of 0.4-0.8 inches (1-2 cm), with its front end fully extended. They use the front end of their body to insert into the aperture of the shell and grip the body of the prey.

This position can last up to 12 hours, with the predator occasionally moving its shell to get deeper into the prey. During this process a lot of mucus is produced securely anchoring the shell of the prey to the surface.

Predation by Green wolf snails is often so thorough that none of the soft tissues of the prey remain.

According to the study, these snails eat some snail species readily, yet neglect others. Additionally, the size of their prey also matters. For example, experiments showed that Edentulina obesa eats the same size or smaller specimens.

Even though they may also eat slugs, they still show a strong preference for snails that do not have an operculum (the trap-door). For example, laboratory observations showed that these snails would actually attack Tropidophora letourneuxi when out of their shell, but would desist after they had retracted and closed their aperture with its operculum.

Green wolf snails may also eat their own kind if more than one is kept in a container in the absence of alternative food.

Features:

  • Diet Type: carnivore
  • Food Preference: Snails and slugs
  • Feeding Frequency: Once per week
Important: Avoid overfeeding Edentulina! These snails usually take breaks of several days or even weeks to rest and digest after a successful hunt. They are not dead!
It is worth clarifying the issue of overfeeding. If the snail is already satiated, it will not attack prey. However, this doesn’t mean we should constantly offer food to keep it constantly satiated. It’s essential to have intervals of at least a few days before the snail truly becomes hungry!
So, daily and excessive feeding can mess with their digestion and wear them out, potentially causing various health problems for the snail.

Keeping and Housing Green Wolf Snails

I would like to start off by emphasizing the fact that Edentulina obesa is an incredibly demanding species when it comes to their captive care! Even minor mistakes will have fatal consequences.

This is one of the biggest difficulties associated with keeping these snails in captivity. As a result, the majority of snails perish shortly after their arrival.

I repeat – DO NOT keep them as pets. DO NOT assume that these snails will definitely survive in your care. 

However, if, by some chance, you find yourself in possession of Green wolf snails and are unable to return them to their natural habitat, here is what is known about their care requirements.

Enclosure type:

It can be either an aquarium or a plastic container.

In most cases, plastic containers can be a great choice. They are cheap and what is more important, you can easily drill a few small holes on two opposite sides of the walls to create proper ventilation.

Enclosure size:

When keeping these snails, it’s essential to consider their low density in nature. This is likely because each snail has its, let’s say, territory where they hunt.

Therefore, for the proper care of one Green wolf snail, you will need at least 10 gallons (40 liters).

Keeping them in smaller containers would make it challenging to establish the necessary gradients of humidity and temperature.

Temperature:

This species prefers a warm environment, the range of optimal temperatures is anywhere between 24 – 27 °C (75 – 80 °F).

Note: Snails are “cold-blooded” or, in other words, their body temperature completely depends on the temperature in their surrounding environment.

Any big fluctuations in temperature or a cold day can drastically reduce the warmth in a tank which can potentially cause your snail to suffer from temperature shock.

In this case, it can be a good idea to have a heat mat under the tank to keep the tank warm.

The best (safest) option will be to put the heater to the side of the tank, ideally, partially above the substrate line to heat the air as well.

In such a setup, one part of the container will be warmer, while the other will be slightly cooler. This allows the snail to independently choose the area where it finds comfort at any given time.

Tanzania has a tropical equatorial monsoon climate. In the mountains, the climate is tropical, with slightly lower temperatures and increased precipitation.

The average winter temperature ranges around 72°F (22°C), while the average summer temperature ranges from 75 – 81°F (24 – 27°C).

April to June marks the major rainy season, characterized by daily or alternate-day rains lasting several hours. July to October is dry and sunny, and November to December experiences a minor rainy season with light rains.

Humidity:

The humidity level should be 70-90%. Edentulina obesa needs moist, and humid air to breathe properly. 

Humidity can be changed by adding more moisture, less ventilation, or by adding more ventilation.

This is normally a trial and error process, so expect it to take some adjusting to get it perfect. 

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Lighting:

No special requirements. You may not even need one.

Substrate:

To replicate their natural environment, provide this species with coconut fiber, soil, and peat. Your substrate should be slightly acidic.

There is no need to have a very deep substrate; 1-2 inches (or 3-5 cm) will be more than enough.

Note: There is a hypothesis that when keeping Edentulina obesa in captivity, they may lack volcanic powder, which is extremely rich in silica.

Therefore, if possible, it would be beneficial to also purchase rock powder (basalt) in the gardening section. Additionally, this helps make the substrate slightly acidic.

Decorations and Hiding places:

The presence of vertical decor in the form of tree bark is important for these snails!

Therefore, we need to provide plenty of dark hiding spots and other decorations to enrich their environment.

For example, they will appreciate all types of leaves, wood, plants, and other decorations to enrich their environment. 

Important: Make sure that the décor is safe as well. For example, avoid using rocks, ceramics, etc. because land snails can damage themselves if they fall.

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In captivity, it has been observed that if your snail starts losing its vibrancy, becoming progressively paler, unfortunately, this is a very concerning sign, and it likely indicates that its time may be limited.

Breeding Green Wolf Snails

Currently, there have been no successful cases of reproduction of these snails in home or laboratory conditions.

It is assumed that when the Edentulina species is ready to mate, it finds a slime trail from its potential partner and follows it.

Although the mating process itself is unknown, some owners have described finding clutches of 25-40 eggs. Unfortunately, these eggs tend to develop mold quickly and perish.

In scientific literature, researchers mentioned discovering young individuals in soil-filled cavities in calcareous rock. The clutches were typically concealed under tree roots or fallen trunks.

In Conclusion

As a passionate enthusiast of invertebrates, I understand the temptation to acquire such a bright and unusual snail.

However, delving into this topic, I firmly assert that keeping Edentulina obesa in captivity will not be the best idea as they are highly demanding. Thus, I strongly encourage everyone to resist the temptation of buying or exporting Green wolf snails. Otherwise, we can only harm their population. It is better to keep them in the wild.

There are cases where it’s better not to interfere with certain species and leave them in their natural habitat; this is one of those cases.

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References:

  1. Kasigwa, P., A. Mremi, and J. Allen. “Predation by mongooses, rodents and snails on Sitala jenynsi (Pfr.), Achatina fulica Bowdich and other land snails in coastal Tanzania.” Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society and National Museum179 (1983): 1-9.
  2. Bernard Mollusca of North East Tanganyika. Tanganyika notes and records. № 33,1952
  3. Raut, S. K., and G. M. Barker. “Other Achatinidae as Pests in Tropical Agriculture.” In Molluscs as crop pests, pp. 55-114. CABI Publishing, CAB International, 2002.
  4. Pickford, Martin. “A new look at Kenyapithecus based on recent discoveries in western Kenya.” Journal of Human Evolution14, no. 2 (1985): 113-143.

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