Control of giant African snail in horticultural crops

January 09, 2014 12:12 am | Updated November 16, 2021 10:51 pm IST

The giant African snail is the biggest land snail among snail species having a protective shell and measuring about 19 cm in length.

It is very active during rainy seasons, nocturnal in nature and damages crops like papaya, brinjal, beans, okra, cole crops, areca nut, rubber buds, coffee seedlings, orchids, etc.

The snail eats away leaves, stems, fruits and flowers of host plants causing severe damage to young saplings especially in nurseries.

Leafy vegetables

It also contaminates leafy vegetables with its excrement.

It frequently climbs on papaya and banana plants and clings on the leaf surface thus interfering with cultural operations and affecting the aesthetic value of kitchen gardens and roof gardens too.

It is a hermaphrodite and lays 50-200 yellow coloured eggs on soil surface.


Hatching takes place in about a week’s period and the young ones grow up to a year and reach sexual maturity.

The life span of this snail is 3-5 years. Snails hatching towards the end of rainy season take a long time to mature as they undergo hibernation and aestivation.


—Locate hiding places and destroy hiding snails.

— Hand collection and destruction will be effective during the early phase of infestation.

— Cut pieces of papaya stems may be placed for attracting and trapping the snails.

— Use wet gunny bags and papaya leaves as bait to collect and destroy them.

— Marigold can be raised as trap crop around vegetable fields.

— Lime or bleaching powder may be sprinkled in the infested area.

— Common salt may be spread on the snail infested area.

Predatory snails, hermit crabs and millipedes are found to feed on this snail and check the increasing population.

— Spread the bait mixture of rice bran and metaldehyde (5per cent) to cover the paths of snails or sprinkle 5 per cent metaldehyde pellets around the infested plants.

— Spray one per cent copper sulphate, 0.5 per cent carbaryl or fenitrothion and broadcasting of 1.3 per cent lindane dust at 20 kg/ha.

(Dr. J. Jayaraj is Professor of Entomology, Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai 625 104, email:, phone :0452-2422946).

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.