Snail (Garden) / Helix aspersa

  • Garden Snail

Did you know...

The garden snail has a flat muscular organ called a foot that helps it move.

The gliding motion of the snail is helped by the release of a mucus to reduce friction

This mucus is the reason why snails leave a wet trail of slime when they move around.

They are extremely slow. Their fastest speed is only 1.3 cm per second.

Garden snails rely on their excellent senses of touch and smell to find food. They have very poor eyesight and are deaf to sound.

This species has also been used for centuries in traditional medicines.

The garden snail is one of the best-known species of snail (gastropod mollusc) in the world.. It is so common, that it is one of the most widely distributed terrestrial mollusc.

Garden snails are normally active at night or in the early mornings when the atmosphere is damp and protects them from dehydration. They can however come out during cloudy or rainy days. Garden snails are herbivorous and feed on several kinds of fruit trees, garden plants, crop vegetables and some cereals.

The snails’ mouth is underneath the front of the foot and is a toothed ribbon called the radula, which is used to scrape fragments from its food.

Some individuals hibernate during winter months, especially when they are mature, but they return to activity with the spring.

Like all other gastropod molluscs, the garden snail is hermaphrodite; meaning each individual has both male and female organs. However, mating is required for fertilization. After some pairing and courtship, two snails start a mating process that can last from four to twelve hours and usually includes the exchange of a love dart, a kind of calcareous arrow whose actual purpose is still unclear.

.During the mating process the two snails fertilise each other and subsequently both will lay around 80 eggs, 3 to 6 days after mating. Each snail will create a nest 2-3 cm deep with its foot, and in to which the eggs will be laid. Gardens snails can lay up to six batches of eggs in a single year. Each newly hatched snail, will take one to two years to mature.

Garden snails are an important food source for some animals like birds, lizards, frogs and worms. Predatory insects and other species of snails will also eat garden snails.

This species is regarded as a pest in most areas although it is edible and increasingly kept on snail farms. Although sometimes used for cooking it should not be confused with the Roman snail or “Escargot”.