The European brown garden snail

gastropod on grass
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Size: Smaller than the Burgundy snail (Helix pomatia) the garden snail (Helix aspersa) snail measures 25 to 35 mm by 25 to 40 mm for a weight of 7 to 15 g.

Shape, look: Like other land snails, the garden snail has eye tentacles with the eyes at the tip. Its limestone shell is very round, with 4.5 to 5 turns. The opening (peristome) is wide, with a white border.

Behaviour: It is a species whose activity is mainly nocturnal. It is a very widespread species, it is found in gardens, parks, woods, hedges, dunes.

Diet: On a vegetarian diet, this snail eats many plants, mainly nettles, but their effects on cultivated plants cannot be ignored.


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Reproduction: The European garden snail is hermaphroditic like other land snails. During mating, there is cross-fertilisation. The laying then takes place in a hole in the ground 4 to 8 cm deep. The number of eggs laid is around 85, they are white with a diameter of about 3 mm. Hatching will take place after 12 to 25 days depending on the temperature. The development is direct, it is therefore small snails similar to adults in miniature that will hatch.

NOTES: The garden snail is one of the most common terrestrial gastropods. It belongs to the Pulmonate Molluscs in which the pallial cavity plays the role of a lung and allows gaseous oxygen to be breathed in representatives of this group of marine origin. This adaptation allowed them to live in a terrestrial environment, but requires ambient humidity, this snail is poorly resistant to drought.

There are several subspecies of Helix aspersa in Europe. Because of its gustatory value, this snail has been the subject of breeding in a controlled environment, the heliciculture, it is the Algerian subspecies, Helix aspersa maxima (the “big gray”) which has today the favour of the breeders.


Jacques Julien

French photographer based in Paris specialised in black and white photographs, animal photos, architecture, portraits.