#10 Polynesian Tree Snail

Extinct in the Wild

These are an air-breathing very tiny little snail that are still found in zoos, but extinct in the wild of their native French Polynesia.


While looking into these, I learned that most snails are considered right-handed. Yes, they call it right-handed rather than right-footed or right-shelled. It means their shell coils clockwise rather than to the left.


The Partula snails used to have 125 species, but after an African land snail was introduced as food, and started eating important crops. Genius scientists introduced a cannibalistic snail called the Rosey Wolfsnail which liked Polynesian tree snails better than the giant and faster African snail. There are only about 30% of the original 125 species now, many only existing in zoos. Even those that are not extinct in the wild, are in serious danger of joining that status. The snails can live about 10 years and they are trying to reintroduce a few of them into the wild.

We have never been able to put out snail bait, and have been resigned to losing a portion of our garden to slugs and snails. My youngest has always loved snails, and honestly I think they are pretty cute too (though my son is much cuter). It is ok, they have to live as well, and they don't eat everything from the garden, mostly just the strawberries. Even though my son is a teenager now, snails are still off the pest list and on the pet/friend list.

All images © 2023 by Sara Jensen, do not copy.