The question is often asked about “how snails reproduce” or “how to identify the male snail from the female snail”.
There is no male or female snail because each snail has both and for that reason are referred to as hermaphrodites which means that each individual processes both male and female reproductive organs.
Each snail can produce sperms and eggs at the same time.
In some rare cases, self fertilization is possible but normally mating is between two individuals of the same species.
To fertilize the eggs, the snails would exchange sperms with each other.
After mating, both become pregnant and go off separate way and lay fertilized eggs in nests dug out of moist soil
Snails are usually sexually mature by the time they are one year old.
Their reproductive organs are located close to the top of their body making it easier to mate and to grow the baby snails.
Mating usually begins during the night but can take from four to fourteen hours before it is complete.
Mating usually begins in spring but can continue through to autumn if the environmental conditions are correct.
During mating, Both snails fertilises each others eggs.
With some snails producing up to 300 eggs per clutch ( Archatina Archatina) … and the fact that from a single mating, each snail has the ability to produce its own snails, you could start to how easy it is for snails to multiply in numbers within a short time.
Before mating begins, the snails have a gentle courtship where they circle and touch each other.
After a period in which the members of the pair caress each other with their tentacles, each snail discharges a calcium ‘love dart’ (spiny projection which is covered in mucus) that protrudes for a while before becoming lodged in the the skin of its partner.
The function of this love dart is unclear, but it is thought that the mucus may act to improve the survival of sperm.
Mating then takes place; each snail inserts its penis into its partner at the same time .
Snail Reproduction – A Clip Showing Snails Mating
The snails separate, and the sperm is stored internally until the eggs are ripe.
After about six to ten days after mating, the eggs become fertilised and the snail makes a hole in the soil where it lays its eggs in batches of 30 to 100 eggs at a time.
It then covers the hole with a mixture of soil and mucus before leaving to rest.
The eggs are round and measure approximately 3mm in diameter. They are pearly white in colour and have a rubbery texture.
The eggs hatch within three to four weeks of being laid and the newly hatched baby snails are exact replicas of the adult snails.