Pillar Snail

2015 November 25

Sam showed me this snail on July 12, 2015. I think she found it under a board or a rock. The shell was less than a quarter of an inch long.

The shell had a peculiar spiral shape with a rounded tip, and was extremely shiny. These are all characteristics of the Pillar Snails in the genus Cochlicopidae.

Pillar snails are small terrestrial “pulmonate” snails, where the pulmonates are the snails that have actual lungs rather than gills. So, they can get around on land pretty well provided that their skins don’t dry out. The shell probably helps a bit here, as then can hide out in it when things get too dry.

Since the shells are made of calcium compounds, land snails need a bit more calcium in their diets than slugs do. The pillar snails in particular polish their shells to be shiny like this, they evidently reach out and scrub the shell with their tongues as far as they can reach (which would be why the very tip of the shell isn’t shined). This makes the shells really slippery and hard to pick up, which I’m sure makes them harder to catch and eat.

One Response
  1. Carole permalink
    November 25, 2015

    You’ve given me a new appreciation for these little guys. Didn’t know if they were native because I usually find them in pots from the nursery.

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