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UK Nature > Snails > Helix aspersa




Scientific Name: Helix aspersa
Common Name: Common Garden Snail

Helix aspersa, or the Common Garden Snail, has grey, moist skin covered in little lumps. At the front end are four tentacles, the shorter two for feeling and the longer pair are eye stalks. The shell is usually light brown with darker brown bands following the spiral of the shell, although the shell colouration varies in its intensity from pale yellow to almost black.

They are herbivores and feed on decaying vegetation, algae, fungi, lichens and plant leaves. As a part of their herbivorous diet they often feed on garden plants and are considered by some to be pests. Common snails have a symbiotic bacteria in their crop that enables them to digest cellulose - they have been known to feed on damp paper and cardboard.

Because of their moist skin, common snails are most active in damp weather and at night. When conditions become too dry, the snail will retreat into its shell and seal the entrance with a parchment-like barrier known as an epiphragm.











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