Garden Snail (Cornu aspersum)

Do you have a Garden Snail (Cornu aspersum) and want to learn how to properly care for it?

Then you’ve come to the right place! This article will provide an in-depth guide to C. aspersum care, with detailed information on its natural environment, diet, and potential health issues.

An understanding of these factors can help ensure your terrarium snail is happy and pacing around for years to come.

So let’s get started!

Common Name Common Garden Snail, Brown Garden Snails
Family Name Helicidae
Scientific Name Cornu Aspersum
Use Cleaning, Aerating Soil, Pets
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan 4-5 Years
Diet Omnivore
Adult Size Up to 1 inch
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Easy
Minimum Tank Size 3-5 Gallons
pH 6.0-8.0
Hardness Soft to Very Hard
Temperature 69-75°F

What Are Garden Snails?

Garden Snails, scientifically known as Cornu aspersum, are small land-dwelling mollusks.

With their conspicuous brownish-gray or yellow-striped shells, they are easily recognizable and have become a common sight in many greenhouses and lawns across the world.

The common name ‘Garden Snail’ comes from their habitation of gardens and sometimes, even inside homes.

They are found in most areas with mild damp climates and can survive in both tropical and temperate climates, although their natural habitat is within Old World (Europe and Asia) regions.

What Do Garden Snails Look Like?

Cornu aspersum is a type of terrestrial gastropod mollusk and is easily recognized by its large, coiled shell.

When fully grown, an adult Garden Snail typically measures 2-3 cm (about 1 inch).

The exterior of the shell is usually dark brown, although it may occasionally appear yellow, cream, or even purple.

The interior of the shell is often brightly colored, ranging from white-yellow to light pink.

The body of the Garden Snail is covered by a mantle, which secretes mucus for protection and movement.

Cornu aspersum has two pairs of tentacles.

The upper pair is longer and has eyes on the tips, whilst the lower pair is shorter and contains smell and touch receptors.

Benefits Of Using Garden Snails

Vivariums are great homes for garden snails such as Cornu aspersum.

They provide a safe and stimulating environment for the snail to explore, with plenty of natural hiding places and food available to keep occupied.

Not only that, but it’s important to note that the bacteria that naturally occur in vivariums are actually beneficial to the snails.

This bacteria can help them break down food, maintain a healthy digestive system, and even boost their immune systems, helping the snail stay healthy and robust.

They also often offer a more humid environment than some other habitats, which can be ideal for snails as they need consistent moisture levels to thrive.

Garden Snails: The Ultimate Cornu aspersum Care Guide!

Garden snail Facts

Cornu aspersum is a fairly small, terrestrial mollusk native to Europe and northern parts of North America.

These snails have a lifespan of many years, are generally peaceful and easy to care for, and can be bred easily in outdoor gardens.

Their natural diet is mostly composed of leafy greens and vegetables, as well as occasional fruit and protein-rich sources.


Garden snails are a species of land snail native to many parts of the world.

They are found naturally in temperate and subtropical climates, particularly in the Mediterranean region.

Cornu aspersum has also been introduced to North America, Australia, and other parts of the world.

These common snails prefer to live in moist environments and can be found living in gardens, fields, forests, and other natural habitats.

They are usually found in areas with plenty of shade and soil that are high in calcium, which helps them develop their protective shell.


The natural diet of Garden snails in their native habitats consists mainly of decaying plant material, fungi, and algae.

They are also known to occasionally nibble on small decaying insects.

These snails feed mainly at night, and they use their specialized tongues to scrape off food particles.


Cornu aspersum typically have a mild and docile temperament, and will not become overly aggressive with humans, other snails, or animals.

They do not produce any sound and generally remain calm when handled.

They are typically a slow-moving species, and will typically not wander away from their habitat.

Despite this, they can quickly find ways to escape, and so should still be enclosed in tanks with secure lids.

Though they are known to be social critters, they typically prefer a solitary lifestyle, although they may interact with other snails occasionally.

When it comes to interactions with larger organisms, they will usually hide and attempt to stay away, unless provoked.


Cornu aspersum is known for its relatively long lifespan. On average, they live for around four to five years.

In captivity, it isn’t unusual for them to live as long as ten years. This can vary, however, depending on their environment, health, and diet. 

Garden snails go through four stages of their life cycle.

This starts with the egg stage, where the small, round, and transparent eggs are laid by adult snails.

This egg stage is followed by a larval stage, which lasts for up to four weeks and is the time the baby garden snails grow from their initial development in the egg. 

The third and fourth stages of the snail’s life cycle are the juvenile and adult stages.

In these stages, the Garden snail will reach its maximum size and begin mating, and laying their own eggs. 


Cornu aspersum is able to reproduce at the age of about one year old when mating season begins.

Generally, the breeding season is from spring to late summer and mating tends to occur at night or during periods of rainfall.

The mating ritual involves two snails clinging onto each other’s shells and stretching their slimy bodies together in a spiral shape.

After mating, the female deposits dozens of eggs in a cellar or other dark, damp place.

The eggs have a jelly-like substance that helps keep them moist and protected.

Upon hatching, the baby snails feed on the yolk in their eggshell.

After a few weeks, the baby snails become independent and are ready to start their own lives.

Garden Snails are also hermaphroditic, meaning they possess both male and female reproductive organs, but they still require another snail for mating.

Where To Find Garden Snails

Finding Cornu aspersum in the wild is relatively easy if you know what to look for.

These snails can be found in damp, grassy areas and on foliage, preferring areas that are dark and moist.

If you are looking for Garden Snails in a garden, the best clues to look out for are the empty shells that the mini gastropods leave behind.

To find these snails for sale, you may find them in specialty animal stores or pet stores that focus on exotic animals.

Alternatively, you can purchase them from online sellers as long as you are certain that the snails you buy have been humanely and ethically collected in the wild and come from a reliable source.

Garden Snail Care

To effectively care for Cornu aspersum, it is necessary to create a natural environment that meets its needs by providing adequate shelter, food, and breeding conditions.

It is also vital to pay attention to signs of health issues to ensure early detection and treatment.

With proper care and maintenance, Garden Snails can have a long, healthy life.

Tank Requirements

When selecting the ideal tank requirements for your snail, consider the natural environment they would inhabit in the wild.

For this reason, a terrarium or paludarium is the best vivarium type to provide.

Additionally, its tank should have a pH of 6.0 to 8.0, a Hardness between 4-10, and a temperature range between 69 to 75 F.

Aim for a terrarium substrate that resembles the natural environment, such as soil or sand mixed with leaves and other organic materials.

Lastly, terrarium lighting should be dim with natural-looking light from either a full-spectrum bulb or adding live terrarium plants, which can provide both hiding spots and supplemental nutrition for the snail.

What Do Garden Snails Eat?

Feeding your Cornu aspersum correctly is essential for its health and well-being.

Garden Snails are mainly herbivores, so they graze on plants, roots, and fruits. Here are a few food items to consider for your Garden Snail:

  1. Fruits: melons, apples, oranges, and other soft fruits.
  2. Vegetables: green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
  3. Plants: orchid bark, garden soil, and mulch.
  4. Whole Grains: oats and wheat bran
  5. Dead Insects: earthworms, mealworms, and slugs

Feeding snails can be as simple as leaving a few slices of fruit or vegetables in their enclosure, though they will certainly appreciate variety.

Decaying insects can be a nice treat a few times a week, but be careful not to overfeed. Make sure to clean up any uneaten food and provide clean water each day.

If you’re more of an avid hobbyist like myself, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY land snail food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.

What Do Land Snails Eat? | Best Land Snail Food + Recipes

Best Tankmates For Garden Snails

Cornu aspersum can benefit from having tankmates, as it can keep them stimulated and engaged.

The best tankmates for Garden Snails have similar needs and beneficial qualities.

These tankmates should generally be other invertebrates that can co-exist peacefully in the same environment.

One of the best tankmates for these snails is isopods. isopods are very peaceful and will not disturb the snail.

Similarly, other mollusks and shrimp can be beneficial for Cornu aspersum, as they can offer both companionship and nutrition.

Earthworms are also great tankmates for snails.

They are generally peaceful and fairly plentiful, providing the Garden Snail with an ample supply of food.

Plus, their burrowing behavior encourages the snail to explore its burrows and forage for food.

However, it is essential to ensure the tankmates are not large enough to harm the Garden snail, and that they can co-exist peacefully in the same environment.


By following the tips in this Cornu aspersum care guide, you can ensure that your snail is safe, healthy, and happy.

As a backyard pet, caring for these types of pet snails can be rewarding, with their friendly and fascinating nature.

So take a few minutes out of your day to give your snail the attention and care it needs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Garden snails can be a problem in gardens as they can feed on plants and reproduce quickly, causing damage and disrupting the ecosystem.

However, their presence can also be beneficial, and whether they are a problem or not depends on the specific circumstances and goals of the gardener or land manager.


Garden snails are known to eat a wide range of plants, including vegetables, fruits, and flowers.

They can also feed on decaying plant matter and fungi. In some cases, they may even eat other snails or small insects.

However, their diet can vary depending on the availability of food and other environmental factors.


Garden snails typically range anywhere from 2 and 9 cm in size, when fully grown. The size of an individual snail can vary depending on the species and where they live.

Yes, many people keep pet garden snails as part of their home terrariums. Garden snails can make great pets, as they are quite easy to care for and are often very active and engaging.

They have fairly basic requirements, including adequate food, water, and temperatures that aren‘t too hot or cold.

Garden snails typically live for about 1-5 years, although the lifespan can vary depending on the species and environmental conditions.

Garden snails can carry diseases and parasites such as Salmonella, although the risk of transmission to humans is generally low.

It’s important to practice good hygiene when handling snails and to thoroughly cook them before eating to reduce the risk of disease transmission.


Garden snails lay their eggs in the soil or in other moist and protected locations, such as under logs, rocks, or debris. The eggs are usually laid in clusters and covered with a protective layer of mucus.


Yes, some species of garden snail are considered to be an invasive species.

This means that they have the ability to spread and outcompete native species, which can have a detrimental effect on the environment.

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