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Cornu aspersum

Brown Garden Snail

One of the most common pests in the garden and agriculture. It can be identified by its brown rounded shell and grey body. They are omnivorous scavengers that feed above ground on organic material and numerous types of fruit trees, vegetable crops, garden flowers, and cereals, and on occasion will scavenge animal matter, such as crushed snails and worms such as earthworms.


Brownish soft body, covered with slimy mucus and yellow or cream-coloured shells with brown spiral stripes. The shell has a sphere shape and a slightly rough surface, with about 4 or 5 spirals. Not all individuals have the shell of the same colour; some have it dark brown, but the majority has it light brown or with a golden hue; also, it shows several brown or yellow stripes.
Holes in fruit and leaves, foliar damage to vegetable crops, garden flowers and cereals. They feed essentially on developing foliar buds, and young shoots and leaves. They often leave behind slime trails, which can be seen as a silvery deposit on leaves, stems, soil and hard surfaces. Snails make irregular holes in plant tissues with their rasping mouthparts.


Found all over South Africa.

Biological treatment

Birds including ducks, chickens and guinea fowl feed on these snails and can provide a long-term control. Some animals like lizards, frogs, and worms also predate on snails. Predatory insects and other species of snails will also eat garden snails. Removing them manually during mild evenings, especially when the weather is damp; they can then be taken to a field or patch of waste ground well away from gardens, or killed in the freezer before being added to the compost heap or put in the bin.

Chemical treatment

Scatter snail pellets thinly around vulnerable plants, such as seedlings, vegetables and young shoots on herbaceous plants. Scatter them thinly as they can harm other wildlife, pets and young children if eaten in quantity. Pellets contain either metaldehyde or ferric phosphate. Ferric phosphate is approved for use by organic growers.

Attracts this pest

A wide range of vegetables and ornamental plants, especially seedlings and other soft growth.

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