Land snails are soft-bodied animals that carry around their home on their back! They play a very important role in the forest ecosystem as decomposers and can be found in all around the world.


Snails are classified in the phylum Mollusca and the class Gastropoda (slugs & snails). The word "Gastropod" translates from Greek to "stomach foot" which refers to how slugs and snails move - their "foot" lines the length of their body's underside.


Snails eat fungi, plants (dead or living), and waste from other animals (someone's gotta do it!). They play a crucial role in keeping ecosystems healthy through converting waste into organic matter.


Snails have tentacles that stick up into the air with little eyes at the end, and also tentacles that face downwards for smelling and sensing movements. They have a tooth-covered tongue called a radula.


Land snails are found in almost every terrestrial environment on the planet! They live in many different ecosystems and like to find wet/damp places in their environment to avoid drying out.


Snails have both male and female reproductive organs. They are oviparous and lay their eggs in clusters in the ground. It isn't certain how long they live for, but there are estimates of up to 16 years old!


Gastropods can make a lot of slime (i.e. mucus) which help them move, climb, stay hydrated, attract mates, and defend themselves from predators! Some predators may spit out a slug if its too slimy for them to eat!

Robust Lancetooth Snail

This cute little land snail is a predator! It uses its tooth-covered tongue (radula) to hunt other snails and slugs to attack its equally slow prey. It has a creamy bluish coloured body with a yellow-green coloured shell that reaches 2-3cm in diameter. This snail can be found from Alaska to California along the coastline, often found cruising along the forest floor.

I found the photographed specimen balancing on a twig in a Coastal Hemlock faorest on Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

The Pacific Sideband snail's shell is usually a chestnut brown colour with a dark brown swirl following the whorls on the shell and a pale yellow band. It's body is a browny-pink colour.

I found the photographed specimen on Saturna Island in the Southern Gulf Islands in a Garry Oak ecosystem. They can also be found in forests and grassy areas.

Pacific Sideband Snail


Sources and Resources:

  • Book: Land Snails of British Columbia by Robert G. Forsyth