Library                   Encyclopedia

Other Invertebrates

  • Common earthworm
  • European crayfish
  • Great grey slug
  • Great pond snail
  • Great ramshorn
  • Horse-leech
  • Painter's mussel
  • Raft spider 
  • Roman snail
  • Taiga tick
299 illustration

Roman snail

Helix pomatia

Description:
The Roman snail, Europe's largest species of air-breathing land snail, is a terrestrial gastropod mollusc. The soft body consists of a head and a flat foot. The snail has four tentacles, the two longer ones each with an eye at the end. The shell is creamy white to light brown, often with indistinct brown bands. It has five to six whorls and measures up to 45 millimetres wide and 47 millimetres high. The Roman snail has a life expectancy of six to eight years.

Habitat:
These snails can be found in Central and South Eastern Europe at altitudes of up to 2,000 metres. They live in mountains, along rivers, in deciduous forests, and in meadows, parks and shrubby ravines on calcareous substrate. In Belarus, they live in damp parks and ravines.

Habits:
Feeding on leaves and grass, the Roman snail prefers damp ground and humid air and will hide under rocks or in the shade in dry weather. During dry summer periods, the snail seals off the opening of its carapace with a special substance, emerging only when conditions become damp once again. The snail is nocturnal and moves at a maximum speed of 7 centimetres per minute. It hibernates in a chamber that it digs for itself in the ground at a depth of 5 to 10 centimetres. Although the Roman snail is a hermaphrodite, two individuals are needed to produce fertilised eggs. After mating, the snail can keep the fertilised eggs for up to one year before digging a hole in the ground to lay them.

  • Illustration
  • Photos
  • Video