Brown-lipped snail

Brown-lipped Snail

Brown-lipped Snail ┬ęPhilip Precey

Brown-lipped snail

Scientific name: Cepaea nemoralis
The Brown-lipped snail comes in many colour forms, but usually has a brown band around the opening of its shell. It prefers damp spots in wide range of habitats, from gardens to grasslands, woods to hedges.

Species information


Diameter: 2.0-2.4cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The Brown-lipped snail is a common terrestrial (land) snail in the UK. Aside from the dark brown banding around the opening of its shell, the colour of the shell can vary greatly between snails, from very light to very dark. This polymorphism is thought to be help camouflage it. The Brown-lipped snail lives in a variety of damp habitats, including gardens, hedgerows, woodlands and grasslands. Brown-lipped snails are hermaphrodites, so have organs of both sexes. However, they need to mate in order for each snail to fertilise their own eggs. They then bury their eggs in soil.

How to identify

The Brown-lipped snail is polymorphic, so the colour of its shell varies from yellow to pink, brown to red. It has up to five brown bands around the whorl of the shell. It can be identified by the brown branding around the lip of its shell, which distinguishes it from the similar White-lipped snail.



Did you know?

It is important for snails to maintain moisture so they do not dry out; they will retreat into their shells if it is too dry. They also retreat into their shells to escape predators, although the Song thrush has found a way to combat this with the Brown-lipped snail - it bangs the shell against an 'anvil' (a rock or stone) to break it open.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National nature reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.