Giant African land snail

Giant African land snails normally measure around 7 centimetres. However, once they reach maturity they will continue to grow for the rest of their life and can reach sizes of up to 30 centimetres! They also have the ability to repair their own shell if it becomes damaged, much like how our fingernails break and regrow. 

Snails 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 are active mainly at night and will shelter from the tropical sun under stones or leaves during the day. 

African land snails are hermaphrodites, meaning that one snail is both male and female. Although they usually require another snail to reproduce, it is not unheard of for them to self-fertilise. They breed quickly and adult size can be reached in just 4 months. As they are so plentiful, in some parts of the world they are harvested for food.

Scientific name
Achatina fulica
Family
Achatinidae
Order
Achatinoidea
Lifespan
Approx. 5-7 years
Conservation status
Least concern