This study examines the capability of growth cones from identified neurons of the snail Helisoma trivolvis to perform calcium homeostasis. Calcium influx into the cytoplasm was eliminated or increased experimentally to alter [Ca]i, and the compensatory response of the growth cone was measured with the fluorescent calcium indicator Fura-2. Growth cones compensated for both increases and decreases in calcium influx by restoring [Ca]i towards basal levels under both types of challenges. The intrinsic ability of growth cones to control [Ca]i was examined in physically isolated growth cones. Isolated growth cones demonstrated essentially identical calcium homeostatic properties to their intact counterparts, indicating that mechanisms governing calcium homeostasis exist intrinsically in the growth cone. Such independence may add significantly to the growth cone's potential to locally interpret and respond to stimuli encountered en route to its appropriate target.