Wild Fact #779 – The Sleepy Snail – Giant African Land Snail

Photo by J.M. Garg

Well I think I have finally recovered from my squirrel incident so we can get back on track with Wild Facts about obscure and interesting animals.  I think today’s Fact could be the poster child for obscure and interesting.  By now you have read the title and realize that I am talking about the Giant African Land Snail.  Doesn’t it just sound fun?  I think any animal that has the world GIANT in it has to be awesome.

So how big is the Giant African Land Snail.  Well they range between 15 to 30 cm (6-11.8″).  Wait a minute, that is almost a foot long!  Further proof that any animal with the word “giant” in their name is worth reading about. Could you imagine a foot long snail? That is the same size as my usual Roasted Chicken Sub from Subway!

I know the size of this snail is awesome but do you know what they do during summers of drought? Well they aren’t big fans of dry summers so during years of drought the Giant African Land Snail will go into aestivation, which is just a fancy word for “Summer Sleep”.  Basically the snail will seal itself inside of its shell in order to retain water.  Depending where the snail is living they may go to sleep about 3 times a year.  I guess it is like holidays for the African Land Snail.

Before we go I just wanted to touch on the reproductive strategies of the Giant African Land Snail.  Like most snails they have both male and female organs.  Usually they will mate with other snails, however, in isolated areas the African Land Snail will reproduce by themselves.  No matter which method they choose they will produce about 200 eggs per clutch.  For the record they have about 6 clutches a year. Since 90% of their eggs will successfully hatch that is about 180 new snails per clutch. Now to get into the higher math.  That is about 1080 new snails per year from one individual snail.  As you can imagine areas tend to get infested pretty quickly which causes major problems for the ecosystem.

That’s it for me folks!  Have a great day.

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