Garden snail

Key information

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). They don't actually need to mate with another snail in order to reproduce, self fertilisation is possible. After mating they lay around 80 white eggs in a damp, underground nest. The newly-hatched snails have fragile shells and take about two year to mature.

What they eat:

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


Shell diameter up to 40 mm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Compost heap Fence/wall Flower border Hedge Herb garden Lawn/grassy area Log pile Meadow area Patio Rock/stone pile Shed Shrub Woodland area

Where and when to see them

Garden snails can be seen throughout the garden at night. Also in parks and woods.

They are usually seen at night in spring, summer and autumn, but are most active in warm, damp weather.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
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  • may
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