Giant African snail (GAS) refers to several snail species from East Africa. One species, Lissachatina fulica, can grow almost eight inches long. This species has a long, conical shell which usually consists of 7–9 whorls. The largest whorl can measure five inches in diameter which is about the size of an average adult’s fist. Shell color can vary depending on the snail’s diet but usually consists of brown and tan stripes with variations of light brown and cream. Often the tip of the shell is lighter or white.
GAS are very prolific and just two snails can produce an infestation in a relatively short time. Each snail contains both male and female reproductive organs and can produce up to 1200 eggs/year.
Adult snails are typically nocturnal—feeding at night and seeking shelter during the day time. They become more active during damp or humid weather. Juvenile snails may feed during the day. In heavy infestations, snails will be visible in the open, any time of day and are considered a nuisance.
Immature snails are smaller and may resemble some native snails. It is best to contact an expert if you suspect a large snail could be a giant African snail.