Scientific Name : Achatina fulica
Family Name : Achatinidae,
Tamil Name : Netthai
Description : A large land snail with a conical shell with brown and white. It got transported to India from Africa which is its native place.
Distribution and status: The species is native to East Africa, but it has been widely introduced to other parts of the world through the pet trade, as a food resource, and by accidental introduction. This species has even been found in China. It is considered a pest in some areas.
Habitat: It is a highly invasive species, and colonies can be formed from a single gravid individual. In many places, release into the wild is illegal. Nonetheless, the species has established itself in some temperate climates and its habitat now includes most regions of the humid tropics, including many Pacific islands, southern and eastern Asia, and the Caribbean. The giant snail can now be found in agricultural areas, coastland, natural forest, planted forests, riparian zones, scrub and shrublands, urban areas, and wetlands.
Habits: It feeds voraciously and is a vector for plant pathogens, causing severe damage to agricultural crops and native plants. It competes with native snail taxa, is a nuisance pest of urban areas, and spreads human disease. This snail is listed as one of the top 100 invasive species in the world.
Food: The giant African snail feeds on a wide range of plant material, fruit, and vegetables. It will sometimes eat sand, very small stones, bones from carcasses and even concrete as calcium sources for its shell. In rare instances the snails will consume each other.
Life cycle: This species is a simultaneous hermaphrodite; each individual has both testes and ovaries and is capable of producing both sperm and ova. Adult size is reached in about six months, after which growth slows, but does not cease until death. Life expectancy is commonly five or six years in captivity, but the snails can live for up to ten years. They are active at night and spend the day buried underground.
Role in the environment : It has been introduced in India and the population has expanded considerably.
Photo source: http/.www. list-of-animals.com/Giant African Land Snail