Species: Garden Snail (Cornu aspersa (previously Helix aspersa))

Family: Snails (HELICIDAE)

Category: Invertebrates (Other)

Location: Widespread

A. Invertebrates (Other)

More extensive information on invertebrates can be found in a separate blog post.


Snails are shelled gastropod molluscs. There are terrestrial, marine, and freshwater species, and they produce shells that the soft body can retract into. They have no internal skeleton, and they propel themselves with a muscular 'foot'. They are mostly herbivores, using their rasping tongues to eat into living or dead plant stems, leaves, flowers, fruit and fungi. This tearing and scraping activity is distinctly audible. A few are omnivorous or carnivorous, but all eat some soil or sand to get the calcium needed to create the shell. They are crepuscular and nocturnal and use their powerful sense of smell to seek food, keeping as cool and moist as they can. In drought conditions they will go into a suspended, restful state of aestivation, the Summer equivalent of hibernation. Some snails leave silvery slime trails. The Helicicae family of snails is a diverse family of air-breathing land snails, which includes some popular edible snails.

C. Garden Snail (Cornu aspersa (previously Helix aspersa))

This edible snail is one of our most familiar species, with its yellow or cream-coloured shell with brown spiral stripes, although like all snails the pattern and colour are variable. The garden snail has a flat, muscular foot that helps it move with a gliding motion aided by the release of mucus to reduce the friction with the surface. This mucus is the reason for the trail that these snails leave when they move around.

Additional Information


Molluscs are a large, diverse group of invertebrates, which have soft, unsegmented bodies enclosed within calcareous shells, and are represented in gardens mainly by terrestrial gastropods such as snails and slugs. Other molluscs, particularly the bivalves (like clams, oysters, scallops, cockles) and cephalopods (like squid and octopus), are aquatic. Their shells are secreted by a soft mantle covering the body.