Partula snail (Partula spp)

Partula Snail

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Fast facts

Status All partulid snail species are Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild or Extinct

Size Shell size varies from around 12mm for some species to almost 30mm in others

Weight Less than 1g

Gestation 3 months

Young 1

Life span Some species live for 17 years

What do I eat?

All partula snail species are mostly detritivores, which means that they eat rotting plant material.

Where do I live?

These snails are found on many volcanic islands across the South Pacific. They live in forests on the stems, trunks and undersides of leaves of a wide variety of plants.

Breeding

Most species of partula snail are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female reproductive organs and are able to self-fertilise. However, this is fairly rare, and they usually cross fertilise.  All species of partula snail are ovoviviparous, meaning that they give birth to live young after the fertilised embryo has developed within an egg in the parent’s body. The newborn snails measure from 1 to 2mm, and can reach adulthood in just 3 to 6 months. 

Predators

The carnivorous Florida rosy wolf snail is the main predator of partula snails.

Conservation

The Florida rosy wolf snail was introduced into the Pacific region in the 1970s to control the giant African land snail. This was another introduced species which was intended as a food source but had then become a crop pest.  Rosy wolf snails started to predate on partula snails instead of the land snails, with catastrophic consequences. Of the 77 species of partula snail, 51 became extinct and 11 only survive in captivity.  An international conservation programme was established in 1986.  As part of this, 25 species of partula snail became part of breeding programmes in Europe and North America.  In addition, programmes have been established to monitor the status of remaining wild populations and to work on the reintroduction of species that are extinct in the wild.  

In order to conserve the remaining species of Partula snail, many were taken in to captivity where captive breeding programmes could be set up. These breeding programmes aim to restore numbers. Monitoring and restoration programs are also being put in place for the remaining wild populations and reserves are being created to protect them.

Did you know?

Partula snails stay firmly fixed to leaves during dry periods but come out when it rains to feed and mate.

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We visited Marwell yesterday and had a really enjoyable day. It was warm and sunny and we saw so many animals, including snow leopards, lemurs, giraffes, meerkats, penguins, leopards, marmosets, and tamarins to name just a few. We ate in the Graze Cafe and enjoyed food which we thought was extremely… Read full reviewJackie, 24th September 2016