Organophosphates and carbamates are extensively used to increase the quality and quantity of field crops. These pesticides may indirectly enter water bodies where they affect aquatic organisms. Once absorbed by aquatic organisms the pesticides are metabolised and normal metabolic processes may produce reactive oxygen species that have adverse effects on the aquatic organisms. The effects of exposure to carbaryl and dimethoate pesticides on antioxidant enzymes of two freshwater snail species Helisoma duryi and Lymanea natalensis were evaluated. Groups of snails were exposed to 25 ppb of carbaryl and/or dimethoate for 72 hours. After the exposure duration they were then analysed for their effects on the oxidative defense systems of the snails. Increased thiobarbituric acid reactive substances levels and activities of catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione S-transferase in both snail species were observed, probably as a means of combating oxidative stress due to pesticide poisoning. Increased lipid peroxidation, coupled with altered levels of oxygen free radical scavenging enzymes in snail homogenates are discussed in relation to oxidative stress.