Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Snail on a small plant

with 48 comments

Snail on Small Plant 2166A

On the prairie in northeast Austin on April 22nd I noticed this snail that had climbed onto a small plant. The most common land snails here are tiny but this one was larger, maybe 3/4 of an inch (19mm). Shortly after finding that snail, I saw that another one of the same type had gotten up on a leaf of an antelope-horns milkweed plant, Asclepias asperula.

Sanil on Antelope Horns Milkweed Plant 2204

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 16, 2016 at 5:08 AM

48 Responses

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  1. Love the snail. They are so elegant.

    Sherry Lynn Felix

    May 16, 2016 at 5:43 AM

  2. I saw one about that size up on the concrete front porch. Nothing to eat or do up there. I sent it back to the green area.

    Jim Ruebush

    May 16, 2016 at 6:36 AM

  3. Great capture, Steve.


    May 16, 2016 at 7:12 AM

  4. Sounds like you’ve got yourself a snail irruption, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    May 16, 2016 at 9:25 AM

  5. I sort of like snails for their shell designs, but not for the damage they do to my plants. Apparently we (UK) will have a massive snail explosion this summer due to the mild and wet winter. I am finding dozens of them every day, some with very pretty shells, most of them quite tiny. I have even picked them from a jasmine climber AND a small tree! I shall have to go and look at your article which I have noticed in the comments. I really loathe killing them (I even loathe killing spiders and I hate them), but they can multiply very quickly I believe.


    May 16, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    • Not being a gardener, I don’t have to contend with snails’ harm to cultivated plants, but I understand why it would be a problem for you, especially if the critters come out in large numbers the way you say they’re predicted to do this summer.

      I think you’ll enjoy the article, whose author says: “These enigmatic creatures deserve closer attention, and even a little tenderness – no matter how many of our hostas they eat.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 16, 2016 at 9:58 AM

      • Yes, I did read and like the article. But I only have the one hosta. And last year it was shredded! Maybe I can just chuck the snails in to the field and hope they find enough to eat without returning to my garden.


        May 16, 2016 at 10:35 AM

        • I wonder if you could get a piece of one of those super-slick space age materials and fashion a little wall around your hosta. Or how about a little plastic-lined moat around the plant (even if you’d have to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate)?

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 16, 2016 at 10:50 AM

  6. Beautiful snail photo, Steve. I don’t often comment, but I love all your work. A real pleasure to see your posts in my mailbox.

    Lavinia Ross

    May 16, 2016 at 10:08 AM

    • Thanks for your appreciative words, Lavinia. Even in familiar places, there’s almost always something new to photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 16, 2016 at 10:21 AM

  7. Fibonacci in living form – beautiful!


    May 16, 2016 at 10:16 AM

    • When I taught math I made sure to drag in the Fibonacci numbers from time to time. Not all spirals are Fibonacci-like, but the one in this snail is.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 16, 2016 at 10:25 AM

      • I am surrounded by it everywhere in the garden; once you recognize, you don’t ever stop noticing it 🙂


        May 16, 2016 at 10:31 AM

        • You’re not fibbing. Many flowers have parts that come in Fibonacci numbers; 2, 3 and 5 are the most common.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 16, 2016 at 10:39 AM

          • Echinacea heads are the easiest to see the double spirals; I always love seeing them appear.


            May 16, 2016 at 11:25 AM

            • Echinacea heads do lend themselves to that. I’ve been able to pick out the double (and even triple) spirals in pine cones and large sunflower heads.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 16, 2016 at 11:34 AM

            • By the way, several species of Echinacea are native in Texas.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 16, 2016 at 11:42 AM

              • I grow E. purpurea, which is very happy here but plan to add E. pallida this year. They are a wonderful tribe of plants.


                May 16, 2016 at 11:47 AM

                • If those two interbreed, you can get some flowers that are pallidly purple. (Okay, I’m not serious.)

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  May 16, 2016 at 12:46 PM

  8. Very nice shot.


    May 16, 2016 at 4:05 PM

  9. These are real beauties. I rarely see snails climb, so it’s fun to see them do it in your photos.

    I had a different sort of snail treat today. The landscapers have been busy, and there are fresh plants, dirt, and mulch everywhere. I noticed that some of the new plants were looking a little ragged, and when I bent down for a closer look, there were snails everywhere. I stopped counting at 28 in about a square yard of territory.

    Not only were they relatively large, they were speedy little critters. I’ve never seen snails move so fast. It was fun to watch them trucking along, waving their little antennae. It was raining, so I didn’t get any photos, but maybe tomorrow.


    May 16, 2016 at 9:52 PM

    • Now I’m wondering whether snails over by the coast climb less than the ones here seem to. I say “seem to” because perhaps that’s just my impression from being out and about so often in nature. Neither of the snails I photographed did any moving, so the ones you saw made up in motion for their lack of climbing. Good luck getting some pictures of them or others tomorrow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 16, 2016 at 11:33 PM

  10. It would appear that both of your subjects were estivating when you found them, and their whorls represent annual growth, I think you found a nearly-four-year-old and a four-and-a-half-year-old.

    Pairodox Farm

    May 17, 2016 at 4:22 AM

    • I didn’t know there’s a one-to-one relationship between the number of go-rounds and the number of years the snail has lived. Does the ratio vary in some species?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 17, 2016 at 7:25 AM

  11. That is cool! Never saw one climb a plant!

    Reed Andariese

    May 18, 2016 at 8:40 PM

  12. Great Images, would you be ok with me sharing them on my blog. It’s a snail blog 🙂 I would of course credit you and link your page. If it is ok any information you have on the location and the snail would be great to add along with the images. I look forward to hearing back from you 🙂


    February 12, 2017 at 12:03 PM

    • Sure, go for it. I can’t tell you anything about the species, but the location was the Blackland Prairie in far northeast Austin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 13, 2017 at 12:51 AM

      • Sounds good, I appreciate it and I’ll let you know when I get it posted so you can check it out 🙂


        February 13, 2017 at 5:10 PM

  13. […] by Steve Schwartzman in Blackland Prairie in far northeast Austin. You can view his full post at https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/snail-on-a-small-plant/#comment-53991, as well as many other interesting posts and beautiful […]

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