This large Granular Agate Snail, was making slow but determined progress across our garden lawn. Guessing the direction of the road it had taken, I lay down on the lawn with my camera.

The snail continued on its journey and came face to face with my camera lens. Its eyes are on the upper and larger pair of tentacles, and I wondered how it perceived me and the camera. I took a photo or two and moved out of its way and it continued on its journey

This indigenous snail (Cochilitoma granulate) occurs in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Eastern Cape in South Africa. We used to see these large snails (their shells can be over 120 mm in length) regularly, but over the past few years, we seldom see them. We can only guess why this should be so. Sadly, poisons put out by gardeners are likely to take their toll.

The Granular Agate Snail is a vegetarian snail (unlike the increasingly rare cannibal snail that we also used to see in our garden) and I am told that it prefers decomposing leaf litter to feed on, although it might eat a seedling or two. They are impressive creatures carrying beautifully marked conical shells.

Posted by Carol


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