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Do Snails Lay Eggs? 

Have you ever wondered about the reproductive process of snails, or asked yourself “do snails lay eggs?”. These curious little creatures, who are known for slinking up in their shell when scared are a mystery to most people.

Snails are usually seen as pests that will completely decimate gardens. They also reproduce at a miraculous rate within a matter of weeks, your small snail problem can elevate on a much larger scale.

This brings us back to the main point of our article…

Do snails lay eggs?

Many species of snails, like the common brown snail you see in your garden, do lay eggs. They can lay hundreds of pre-fertilized eggs per year that will hatch in just about 2 weeks and reach sexual maturity in one year.

On the other hand some species, like the freshwater snail, do give birth to live young in a way. The female will carry the fertilized inside of her in a special cavity. These eggs will hatch inside of the mother, then the baby snails will crawl out once they have consumed the nutrients they need.

Snail fact
Most snails have a life span of about 5 years, but some species live up to 25 years!

How Do Snails Reproduce?

Snails are hermaphroditic, which means they contain both male and female reproductive organs. Because of this snails can produce eggs individually, rather than having to rely on a mate. Although snails do not require a mate, they do typically choose to mate with other snails. The interesting thing about this is a snail can choose to mate as a female one season, and then as a male the next! So in some cases two snails could simultaneously fertilize each other.

The reproductive organs of snails are located at the front of their bodies to ease in the mating process. The whole mating ritual for snails is quite a lengthily process, which can take typically last between 2-12 hours. Snails can carry up to 100 eggs after the mating process has been carried out.

When Do Snails Mate?

Snails prefer to mate during the warmer months in the year. In colder climates, they will typically mate in the summer months, while in warmer areas they have been known to procreate in autumn months. Snails are most active around sunset, so this usually the time the mating process occur.

Some snails have a life span of about 5-7 years, and are ready to produce offspring around 1 year of age. In those few viable years of producing offspring, snails can produce thousands of young.

Where Do Snails Lay Their Eggs?

Snails like to lay their eggs in the dirt, typically in small holes that are 1 to 1.5 inches deep. The soil shelters the eggs and helps keep them cool.

Perfect Snail Egg Conditions

Many factors go into snails laying their eggs. Snails are quite picky and they pay close attention to the temperature, moisture, and composition of the soil.

The Ideal Conditions:

  • Soil temperature of around 70 degrees F
  • Soil moisture of 80%
  • Composition of around 20-40% organic matter

The snails’ eggs will begin hatching after 2-4 weeks. Once the snails begin to hatch, they are in desperate need of a source of calcium. The best available source happens to be the egg they came out of or their un-hatched siblings. Snail cannibalism is quite common. It takes snails about 3 months to start developing into a proper looking snail with all of their defining features.

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Do snails lay their eggs in water?

There are a variety of snails species in the world both residing on land, as well as in water. While our land snails prefer to lay their eggs in the dirt, freshwater snails, hence their namesake would rather lay their eggs in the water.

Freshwater snails will typically lay their eggs in clumps attached to an aquatic plant, or other matter present in the water. Some species of freshwater snails do lay their eggs on land, and when the babies hatch they will return to the water in time.

Can Snails Lay Eggs in a Tank?

It quite common for aquarium enthusiasts to keep freshwater snails as tank cleaners. It is possible for snails to spawn in tanks like they do in other bodies of water. As freshwater snails usually lay eggs, they will lay them in clumps attaching them to anything within the tank. However aquarium snails from the vivipariidae family, will give birth to live young like described above.

Freshwater snails do best in consistent tank environments, which are not constantly changing. A calcium-rich diet is best for snails to maintain healthy shells.


In conclusion, snails are fascinating creatures with bizarre mating practices, that still hold an element of mystery. Snails do lay eggs in a variety of different ways from under the soil to nestled in plant life in the water. They are also quite temperamental in regards to the condition in which they lay their eggs.