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Common name: Eastern African Land Snail

Scientific name: Achatina fulica

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusk

Class: Gastropoda

Order: Pulmonata

Family: Achatinidae

Genus: Achatina

Species: A. fulica

This animal is known as the biggest snail in the world. When this snail matures it is 7-8 cm tall and can reach 20 cm or more in length. The shell has a rounded cone shape and a spiral look to it. Depending on the snail’s diet determines its coloration and banded design on its shell. The typical color of this species is brown.

 

The East African Land Snail lives in Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa. They can also live in humid tropics, including many Pacific islands, and the Caribbean. Colonies can be formed from a single individual snail. Releasing these animals into the wild is illegal. These snails can also be found in high moisture areas like coastlands, natural forests, urban areas, and most wetlands. These snails dig themselves underneath the dirt to sleep or to hide from predators. They are nocturnal which means they are active at night and they sleep or hide all day.

 

 A single East African Land Snail lies about 5-6 clutches per year. Each clutch contains 200 eggs. That’s more than a1, 000 eggs per year with a 90% chance of successfully hatching. It is unknown how many of these snails exist. Currently, there is no danger threatening this species. Known for being a herbivore it feeds on vegetation. To gain calcium for their shells, a snail will consume tiny bits of sand, very small rocks, bones from carcasses and even concrete. Rarely these snails will eat its own species. As a captive, the snail can be fed bread and chicken seed. It’s only other competitions for food survivals are other plant consumers nearby.

 

Some facts about this animal is that they really love the yeast in beer. It actually serves as a growth stimulus. The snail can be carnivores too, meaning they also can eat meat. When it is raining it will seal itself in its shell to keep it from drowning yet still containing plenty of moisture. If there is an extreme drought, the snail can be sealed up to three years.

 

Author: Courtney L.

Published: 2008

 

 Photo Credit Photo of a Giant African Snail taken near Pattaya, Thailand. Photo taken by User:Ahoerstemeier on July 7, 2003 Sources List http://www.massnrc.org/pests/pestfaqsheets/giantafricanlandsnail.html http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=64 http://www.geocities.com/sarkymite/snails/gals/fulica.html http://www.freewebs.com/worldofsnails/giantafricansnails.html http://www.forestyimages.org.org/browse/subimages.cfm?sub=7130

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