Giant African Snail

Name

Giant African Land Snail

Scientific Name

Achatina fulica

Characteristics

The giant African land snail has been introduced around the world from its native home in Eastern Africa. It is classed as one of the world’s most invasive species.

They move along on a single foot, driven by waves of muscle contraction in the sole. A gland at the front of the foot produces slime for the foot to slide over. They can grow to a length of up to 20cms and the shell has 7 to 9 whorls.

The giant African land snail is a hermaphrodite, meaning that each individual has both male and female reproductive organs. In order to reproduce, the two individuals must engage in a behaviour known as ‘reciprocal copulation’, where sperm from one snail is used to fertilise the eggs in the other, and vice versa. The number of eggs laid in each clutch depends on the age of the snail, although it is usually between 100 and 500 eggs, sometimes up to 1,000!

Diet

The giant African land snail is a herbivore and feeds on a variety of plants, fruit and vegetables.

Size Fact

They weigh around 250 grams.

Food Fact

The giant African snail feeds on as many as 500 different plant species.

Fun Fact

It is illegal to import this species into many countries.

IUCN Red list

The giant African snail has yet to be classified by the IUCN.

Where do I live?

Eastern Africa

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