The largest known land snail, which is also the world’s largest living gastropod, is the African giant snail. It can grow up to 18 inches long and weigh about 3 pounds. The average lifespan of this creature in captivity is 10-15 years, but they can live as long as 25 years in some cases. They are native to East Africa but have been introduced into other regions including Hawaii, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, and Spain by humans on accident or with good intentions for controlling pests. With a diet consisting primarily of plants like lettuce leaves and strawberries, it has no natural predators on land except humans who eat them recreationally or buy them for their meaty flavor at expensive restaurants.
The African giant snail’s shell is brown and can be up to 20 cm in length with an average width of about 12 cm and height somewhere between 15-20 mm depending on age. The bottom part or base of its body extends out from this protective home by a foot-long sticky tongue which it uses for hunting prey like earthworms, snails, and other small invertebrates.
Besides their massive size, these snails are also known for their distinct call when they’re mating, which sounds like a loud cow’s bellow. They lay about 100 eggs in an underground nest every three weeks or so, where they hatch in about six to seven months after being laid during the rainy season.
They are one of the few snails that carry a parasitic worm called a lungworm which causes respiratory disease in humans and is transmitted through contact with their mucous or slime trail, breathing particles from air contaminated by this trail into their lungs. This can be fatal if not treated properly by going to see a doctor immediately.
In addition to being used as food in some parts of the world, these snails are also known for their medicinal properties, which have been shown to be useful against a number of ailments including cancer and AIDS. However, they cannot be eaten raw because if not cooked properly, they can carry parasites that can cause serious health problems or death. They’re also used as a source of protein in developing countries.