Be Kind To Your Local Snails

March 6, 2024

Welcome to Wildlife Wednesdays. Today, we’re asking you to be kind to your local snails! Or, at least, the ones found in the redwoods.

California has over 200 species of native land snails and slugs, and one of the most striking snail species is the redwood sideband (Monadenia infumata).

These little creatures may look like something that would be found inside a volcano, but they are usually seen grazing on lichens, ferns, and fungi in the understory of suitably damp forests in northern California. While they stand out on moss covered logs, fortunately for them, they are almost invisible in the twilight of the redwoods among the leafy litter on the forest floor.

Life can be hard for a snail!

Centuries of logging and increasing drought severity have led this species to be ranked as a Globally Imperiled (G2) species by NatureServe, a network of more than 1,000 scientists and 60 organizations that compile biodiversity data.

Since snails are, well, snails, they tend to stay in a small area. This has led to a diversity of species endemic to pockets of California.

Several subspecies of redwood sideband are even more endangered.

While redwood sidebands may be locally abundant in parts of northern California, they can’t relocate to more suitable areas when disturbances occur. So, continued care of the forests they’re found in is crucial to ensure they can graze in peace far into the future. And do your part by leaving them in place. Just snap the occasional picture, and share it with us, if you like!

Michael Heine