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Garden snail

Other invertebrate

Helix aspersa

The garden snail has a pale grey, moist skin and a large, brown or yellowish shell with paler flecking and darker, spiraling bands. They are widespread and common throughout the UK and often considered garden pests.

They come out at night to feed and rest during the day in sheltered places, such as under rocks. If conditions are too dry, the snail retreats inside its shell, which it is able to seal: it can remain like this for several months if necessary. Garden snails generally hibernate during winter.

They have both female and male reproductive cells (they are hermaphrodite), but must find a partner to exchange sperm before they can reproduce. After mating they lay about 100 white eggs in a damp, underground nest. The newly-hatched snails have fragile shells and take about two year to mature.

What does it eat?

Leaves, algae, lichens, fungi and rotting plant debris.

When will I see it?

Usually at night in spring, summer and autumn, but most active in warm, damp weather.

Where will I see it?

Throughout the garden at night. Also in parks and woods.

Vital statistics

Length: shell diameter of up to 40 mm

Calendar

Not seen in JanuaryNot seen in FebruarySeen in MarchSeen in AprilSeen in MaySeen in JuneSeen in JulyNot seen in AugustNot seen in SeptemberSeen in OctoberSeen in NovemberNot seen in December

Key to calendar