Helix(Cornu)aspersa Müller,1774 (syn:Cornu aspersum,Cryptomphalus aspersus,Cantareus aspersus)
Description:Shell spherical with a short,blunt,spire.Aperture truncated and roundly oval,the lip is white.The umbilicus is covered and not visible.There are 4.5-5 somewhat convex whorls. The coloring is very variable:Normally light-brown,sometimes yellowish-brown,up to 5 spiral bands are present,usually these are broken but shells with unbroken bands appear too. Size:25-40 mm wide and 25-35 high. Habitat:Woods,fields,thickets,dunes,parks,vineyards and gardens. Distribution:Originally from The Mediterranean this species has spread out to western Europe,North-Africa,Asia Minor. It has been introduced in North-America(1850's),South-Africa,New Zealand,Australia and South-America.
Life history: Mating can last from 4-12 hours,the eggs are usually laid 3-6 days after fertilization. The eggs are about 3 mm and laid in a hole in the ground.During the summer they take usually two weeks to hatch.This depends ofcourse on the weather conditions. The number of eggs laid is somewhere between 30-120 with an average of 86. Depending on climatic conditions snails reach maturity from 10 months(South-Africa) to 2 years(California). The snails feed themselves on a wide variety of plants,fresh or decaying,fruit,vegetables and materials like cardboard,newspaper and even the glue from envelopes. During dry spells Helix(Cornu)aspersa seals it self to,for example,a tree to wait for better conditions. A number of animals have this snail on their menu like hedgehogs,toads,birds like the Blackbird;the Songthrush, Ducks;Geese;Chickens,Groundbeetles,Turtles and some carnivorous snails.
Keeping them as pet: See:native snails/slugs general caresheet.