White-lipped Snail (Cepaea hortensis) – Storm Francis is battering us here in the UK, and after the rain had stopped and with the sun coming out briefly, I popped outside and came across this little one on the side of my planter. Not everyones favourite, I know, but they have a beauty of their very own in colour and form. You do have to zoom in to see what I mean. I believe this one was eating algae or lichen.
It’s an odd thing to say, perhaps, but I feel a stillness and a calm with this simple image of a snail nestled in the fold of a nettle leaf. Maybe it is because there is so much going on in the world right now, so much has happened and is still happening, peoples minds are unsettled and unsure of the future, as a harsh wind of change has circled the globe. The snail appears rested, calm, nestled in the fold of a nettle leaf. Double-click image to enlarge if you wish.
White-lipped Snail (Cepaea hortensis) juvenile – A new generation of snails are appearing in the garden, ready to munch their way through it. This little one has such a delicate and elegant looking shell. Double-click to enlarge image.
I found this juevenile snail today. It is teeny-weeny small. But the startling thing I discovered about it when I got the photos on the PC was that the shell had fine hairs on it. Apparently this helps it stick to the leaves when feeding. Double-click image for a closer look.
By my plant pot full of moss I have a strip of bark leaning against some heather. Occasionally I will lift it to see what is sheltering in the dark and damp place it helps create there. Clinging to the underneath of the bark I found a 5-7mm (around 1/4 inch) Discus Snail (Discus rotundatus). For such a small creature it has such amazing detail and colours.
One summer’s day I observed this White-lipped Snail Cepaea hortensis as it travelled from leaf to leaf on my crab apple tree. It was very slow going, but how it managed to slide and glide from leaf to leaf without falling off was quite something.
Apparently if you are a snail and are in a romantic mood all you need is a large green leaf, some shade, and a mate, of course. I found these pair of Garden Snails (Cornu aspersum) enjoying a romantic moment or two this morning at around 8:00, yet they were still at it over two hours later!
Looks like I am going to have baby snails in a couple of weeks time.
I am always fascinated by the intricacies of shells, and how they have evolved to be so. I can’t help but gaze at the top image in wonderment, marvelling at the beauty and bio-engineering involved in its evolution over hundreds of millions of years. All this to protect and shelter the animal inside which had once been feasting on my garden plants.
Garden Snail (Cornu aspersum) rear garden, Staffordshire, England. August 2017.
This is one tiny snail which I never even knew existed until the other week. The shell grows no longer than 4.4mm (0.2in) long. Note it has only one single tooth in the shell opening (see image below), which helps identify this species, and also it is quite a plumpish looking snail with 5 to 6 whorls and a blunt spire compared to other similar species. The snail itself is fairly dark with pale sides.
They are Ovoviviparous, which means the eggs hatch within the body of the animal, and then they give birth to live young. They can live up to 4 years. Quite common and widespread throughout woods, damp grassland and gardens. It can be seen all year round.
Beaneath our feet is a hidden world of wonder which many of us do not get to see. Yet it is there all the time. Earlier I lifted up a plant leaf that was trailing across a flagstone, a simple act, and peered beneath it. I entered ‘their’ world.
Please click on an image for a larger more detailed view. Clicking a second time may get you a little closer.
Also known as the ‘Grove Snail’ or the ‘Banded Snail’, the lip of the shell is always dark brown. The shell colour is variable, from cream, yellow, brown or pink, and is often similar to the White-lipped Snail (Cepaea hortensis). Shell diameter 20 to 24mm.
Found in a range of habitats, but favours woodland, hedgerows, meadows and sand dunes. Also found in gardens. It feeds on a wide range of vegetation. Common and widespread throughout, except northern Scotland.
Also called the ‘Edible Periwinkle’, the shell is variable in colour, from black and grey to brown, white or red, and usually patterned with spiral dark lines. It is conical in shape with a pointed apex. This is the largest British periwinkle, but is usually smaller than 50mm.
It favours rocky shores upper to lower zones with a good covering of seaweed. It can also be found in mud-flats or esturaries. The Common Periwinkle is a herbivore which grazes on seaweeds. Widespread and abundant throughout.
This limpet has a humped, smooth shell with variegation in colour, usually pinkish, orangey, cream or purplish. It has a fairly thick shell with a shelf on the underside, which resembles a slipper. Shell length 5cm. Shell height 2.5cm.
It is found on the lower shore, attached to rocks and other shells, and they form stacks of up to ten individuals or more. They begin life as males, and then change progressively to become females. An introduced species from north-east America in 1887, the Slipper Limpet is quite an invasive species which competes with native oysters for space and food, and is also a threat to Common Mussel beds. Common and widespread.
The Dog Whelk’s shell is variable in colour, from white to dark brown, yellow or banded. Thick-shelled, it is broadly conical bearing spiral ridges with a short spire. Shell height 3 to 5cm.
It is a fierce predator of mussels, barnacles and other molluscs. It bores a hole into the prey’s shell using its radula. Its digestive juices dissolve the prey and it sucks it up with its proboscis. It produces yellow egg capsules which are fixed in clusters under rocks. It can live for up to 10 years.
Found in all types of rocky shores from the middle shore downwards, on rocks, under overhangs and in crevices. Common and widespread.
Photographs taken April 2014, Llanduno, Wales, and August 2015, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.
It still never fails to amaze and fascinate me how Mother Nature has created so many diverse forms of life. And how these differing forms of life have evolved and adapted to their given environments in order to survive the rigors of life. Take the shell of this Strawberry Snail, how beautifully formed and crafted it is, how fine and delicately sculptured, taking the artist millions of years to perfect. Yet, the work is never complete, such is evolution.
I came across the snail pictured in the above two photographs as it was going down to the pond this morning. It is a relatively small snail with a shell diameter of around 12mm.
They are found in woodland, hedgerows and gardens. Common and widespread, but scarce and localised in Scotland.
Photographs taken May 2014 and July 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire.
You only have to pop out into your garden on a rainy day, or venture out during the night hours to find one of these slippery creatures going for your plants. This morning I happened to move my bird bath and there he was, hunkered down and sheltered for the day. However I awoke him, and as grumpy as he was (he blew bubbles at me), he obliged me a photo shoot between rain showers.
The shell of this snail can be marbled brown, black or yellow-ochre, and has fine wrinkles. Shell diameter 40mm.
Individuals contain both reproductive organs and are capable of self-fertilisation, although cross-fertilisation is the normal way.
They live in quite varied habitats, from woodland and hedgerows, to gardens and allotments, where they can be serious pests. Mainly feeding nocturnally, or after rain, they consume various plants, and can do a lot of damage. Common and widespread throughout lowland Britain, absent from most of Scotland.
Photographs taken July 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire.
The colour of the shell of this small snail varies depending on its habitat, and it can be green, orange, yellow, brown or black. There are also banded and chequered patterned forms. The head tentacles of the animal have two lines along them. The shell is finely reticulate. Shell height up to 1.5cm.
Found on the middle to lower shower on large brown seaweeds such as Egg Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) and Toothed Wrack (Fucus serratus) on which it feeds. Common on widespread throughout.
Photographs taken August 2015, rockpool, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.
As much as I love my garden, these slimy creatures seem to love it more – they are slowly, but surely chomping their way through it!
The shell of this snail is quite variable, ranging from all over yellow to yellow with dark brown spiral bands. The lip of the shell is almost always white. Shell diameter 16 to 20mm.
They can live for up to 3 years, and are found in gardens, woods and hedgerows. It is actve during the day in wet and mild conditions, found resting or feeding on vegetation. Common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
Photographs taken June 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire.