Everything You Wanted to Know About (Ahem!) but Were Afraid to Ask

Everything You Wanted to Know About (Ahem!) but Were Afraid to Ask

A Public Service Message for Juvenile Snails Who are About to Turn Adult.

Following are the most commonly asked questions about snail reproduction:

  1. How old do I have to be to reproduce?
    C. caracolla reach maturity between three and six years of age. They can reproduce when a certain gland produces albumen. This is the protein-rich material found in the white of an egg. It is the food supply for the baby snail before it hatches.
     
  2. When do snails reproduce?
    C. caracolla in El Yunque reproduce in the dry months of late winter/early spring. Those who live along the coast mate during the wetter months. 
     
  3. How long am I able to reproduce?
    Individuals stay in breeding condition for at least two months. A snail can breed in at least two consecutive seasons.
     
  4. Where do I reproduce?
    Reproduction can occur most anywhere.
     
  5. With whom do I reproduce?
    Individuals usually mate with more than one snail.
     
  6. How do I reproduce?
    C. caracolla are hermaphroditic. That means each of us has both male and female reproductive organs in our body. So we actually have double (ahem!). Scientists call that reciprocal insemination. We get two sets of eggs for the price of one (in a manner of speaking).
     
  7. What do I do after I reproduce?
    Mating season usually ends by June. Snails retreat to secluded refuges, unseen by those ever-intrusive human scientists. The best refuges are underground. Here we mature and lay our eggs.
     
  8. How long does it take for my eggs to hatch?
    The eggs do not hatch until the baby snails have exhausted their food supply within the egg. This usually happens before the start of the next dry season. Then mating begins again.

If you have any additional questions, particularly about question 6, don’t be afraid to ask your parents. Or make an appointment with Syndy Snail.