How To Tell If A Mystery Snail Is Male Or Female?

Did you just got a new mystery snail and can’t figure out whether it’s a male or female?

You don’t have to get too worked out about it. Figuring out whether your mystery snail is male or female is not that simple actually.

The reason why it is not that easy is that mystery snails are tricky. According to this website, mystery snails can change their sex as they wish.

And why do mystery snails change their sex? Well, it depends on their surroundings and other factors that appear in the rest of the article.

Is My Mystery Snail Male Or Female?

There are a number of ways which can help you identify whether your mystery snail is a male or a female.

Such as:

  • Physical Traits:  A female mystery snail will have discoloration on its shell when it is ready to mate with the male mystery snail. Apart from this, there is a trick widely used by mystery snail keepers to determine the sex of the snail.
    Hold the snail in a particular position, and when it comes out of its shell look, if you see a penis sheath right next to the gills, then your mystery snail is a male for sure.
    It is interesting to note that the male mystery snail has a sheath that covers its penis, which you can identify be looking closely.
  • Behavioral Traits: When the female mystery snail is ready to breed, her shell will be translucent and less rounded as compared to the male mystery snail.  Moreover, it is of no surprise that the male mystery snail will climb onto the female and insert his penis inside her.
  • Other Factors: You can recognize the gender of your mystery snail by taking a wild guess based on its color.  It is not unheard of that a mystery snail is male if it has a brighter shade of any color. Not that it is confirmed the news but just something that I have personally observed.

The gender of your mystery snails should be vital to you if you wish to breed them because taking care of a mystery snail is not that easy.

They may look easy to look after because of their appearance, but if the water quality deteriorates, then it will not be suitable for their health.

It is better to identify their gender and breed them at an early stage. 

Why Does A Mystery Snail Change Its Gender?

A mystery snail is very different from all other species of snails.

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Mainly because a mystery snail is not a hermaphrodite, sure, it can change its gender due to several reasons and well because “nature’s call” I guess, but it is not a hermaphrodite, which is surprising.

According to a news source, many common snails have both male and female reproductive organs, but mystery snails don’t

Instead, a mystery snail will change its gender depending on the circumstances.

Circumstances may include:

  • The environment may not be too comfortable for your mystery snail, and this is why it may feel the need to change its gender.
  • The size of your mystery snail may force it to change its gender.
  • Chemicals present in the water may trigger your mystery snail to change its gender
  • Something as simple as touch may trigger your mystery snail to change its gender.

However, it is essential to note that a mystery snail changing its gender has few to nothing to do with mating.

Mainly because a mystery snail is not a hermaphrodite, and you will still need a male and a female mystery snail to breed them.

Breeding of Male and Female Mystery Snails (video)

How Do Mystery Snails Change Their Gender?

The words “gender roles” don’t do well within the animal world. A large part of the insect world doesn’t follow gender roles.

Take mystery snails, for example. As mentioned above, they can change their gender depending on a variety of factors, but the question remains.


Well, here is how:

  1. Some mystery snails need proper prep time to transition to a female mystery snail while some can transition easily
  2. When the male mystery snail changes its gender, the testis darkens in color and reduces in size.
  3. It may take the mystery snail a few hours or even days to transition back to its original gender. Both depend on their mood and surroundings.

It is not very common of a mystery snail to change its gender as the sole purpose of improving the gender is mating.

So, don’t spend hours sitting in front of your aquarium, trying to observe this gender change as it is highly unlikely that you can see it happening.

The reason for that is the male mystery snail’s opening is covered with a layer called “penis sheath,” so you probably won’t see the testis shrinking in size.

Mystery Snail and Its Characteristics

Ever wondered why a mystery snail is common as a house pet, but the other species of snails are not?

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The characteristics of a mystery snail are rather unique and this is what makes them special and widely popular among households.

These characteristics include:

  • Mystery snails are more commonly known as “apple snails” because they can grow up to the size of an apple
  • A mystery snail comes in a variety of colors such as golden, blue, black, purple, and ivory, etc. These vibrant and bright colors make them a popular household pet.
  • A female mystery snail may give birth up to 100 babies at a time, and according to a website, keep the babies in the same tank as the parents.
  • Mystery snails can live in both water and land because they have a respiratory system that allows them to be amphibians.
  • Mystery snails are comfortable with a room temperature tank.
  • They are low maintenance

Mystery Snails Hatching (video)

Setting Up A Tank For Your Mystery Snail

A mystery snail tank does not require that much of an effort.

All you have to do is follow these steps. The instructions are given concerning 3-4 mystery snails and can vary as the number of snail increases.

  • Choose a tank that is around 2-2.5 Gallons, which is roughly a medium-sized tank.
  •  Fill the tank with water, but make sure not to fill it up with water as mystery snails are amphibians.
  • The freshwater should be at room temperature.
  • Decorate the tank with beautiful ornaments and colorful rocks. Don’t forget to add hiding places.
  • Last but not least, buy a water filter and don’t forget to maintain the ph level at seven, which is ideal for freshwater.
  • Please wait at least a week before introducing your snails to the tank as the environment is new for them

Tips: Monitor the water conditions deeply and add other fishes in the tank if you are planning to have only one mystery snail in the tank so that it won’t feel lonely.


 How long does a mystery snail stay pregnant for?

A mystery snail will stay pregnant for 4-5 weeks before laying eggs. A mystery snail can store sperm for months before laying eggs.

Why a mystery snail is called a mystery snail?

The reason why a mystery snail is called a mystery is that their origin is also unknown. Though some people argue that it’s because they mysteriously die after birthing young one.

 What do you feed a mystery snail?

There is a variety of stuff that you can feed to mystery snails. Fish flakes, vegetables such as lettuce and spinach are the most common foods for a mystery snail. Apart from this, mystery snails enjoy eating freshwater algae.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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