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Snails Sea Slugs and Limpets: Gastropoda

Roman Snail (helix Pomatia): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: This species is the largest snail in Europe. Its ball-like shell is creamy white with spirals of brown bands. It measures up to 2 inches (50 millimeters) across. The body is gray with paler bumps.

Geographic range: Originally from Central and Southern Europe, this species now also lives in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and Spain.

Habitat: They live in woods, hedges, and weeds up to elevations of 6,500 feet (2,000 meters).

Diet: This species eats living plants.

The roman snail is the largest snail in Europe. (Illustration by Patricia Ferrer. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Roman snails hibernate in shallow holes during the winter. They have the ability to forage as far as 150 to 300 feet (50 to 100 meters) and still find their way back.

Males and females have elaborate courtship behavior lasting several hours. Batches of up to forty eggs are laid in the ground during the spring and summer. They take from three to five weeks to hatch. Snails reach adulthood in three or four years and live up to ten years.

Roman snails and people: They are eaten by people, especially in France, but are considered pests on grapes grown to make wine.

Conservation status: Roman snails are not considered threatened or endangered. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMollusks, Crustaceans, and Related SpeciesSnails Sea Slugs and Limpets: Gastropoda - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Gastropods And People, No Common Name (corolla Spectabilis): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS