Other Common Name
Previously known as Helix aspersa
European brown garden snail
Spherical shell, 25-40mm in diameter, with four or five whorls. It has
a wrinkled surface. Pale brown or yellow in colour, often marked with several
dark, broken bands that give the snail a blotchy appearance. The lip of the
snail’s shell is white.
Mainly nocturnal but does sometimes appear during the day, usually
after rain. Reproduction takes place in early summer and is usually sexual,
although self-fertilisation does occur.
Native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe, but has since
spread to other regions through deliberate or accidental transfer. It is now
present on all continents except Antartica.
It arrived in Southern Africa with the Huguenots during the 18th century, who used it as a food animal.
Found in parks, gardens and agricultural land; also forests and dunes.
It can cause extensive damage in citrus groves, where it creates holes
in leaves and fruit. These can lead to rejection of the crop, early fruit drop,
or fungal decay. The snail also feeds on the young foliar buds and leaves of
Crops at Risk
Primarily a herbivore, the species has a wide range of host plants,
including citrus trees, vines, vegetables and cereals.
Impact and Severity
One of the most damaging snail species. In vines, the snail can cause
losses of up to 25% of the crop.
Prevention and Control
Handpicking, while laborious, can be very effective for the garden
snail – large numbers often congregate in the same place. Copper strips around
the base of fruit trees have been found to reduce numbers, in conjunction with
the use of baits on the ground.
Garden snails are a food source for lizards, frogs and birds. Some
insects also prey on snails, and other snail species will also eat them.