Cornu aspersum

Biological Name

Cornu aspersum

Common Name

Cornu aspersum

Other Common Name

Previously known as Helix aspersa
European brown garden snail
Edible 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.

Biological Notes

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.

Geographical Distribution

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.

Damage Caused/Symptoms

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 vines.

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.

Natural Predators

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.