Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/106

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94
PULMONIFERA.—HELICIDÆ.

In the latter part of summer, the Edible Snail lays beneath the surface of the earth from sixty to eighty eggs, which are of a globular shape, covered with a white leathery skin, and about as large as dried peas. In from twenty to thirty days, according to the state of the weather, the young snails are hatched, each enclosed in a delicate shell, of a single whorl. A period of thirteen months from the time of hatching suffices, according to M. Bouchard Chantreux, to bring the animal to its full growth.

The name pomatia, derived from the word πωμα, which signifies a lid, refers to the curious covering with which the animal closes the mouth of its shell, to exclude the air during its residence in winter quarters. All the circumstances connected with its hybernation are so interesting that I shall describe them at length from a memoir on the subject by M. Gaspard, condensed in the Zoological Journal, with some valuable notes by Professor Bell.

M. Gaspard remarks that in our temperate climate, as soon as the first autumnal chills are felt, about the commencement of October generally. Helix pomatia becomes indolent, loses its appetite, and associates in considerable numbers on hillocks, the banks of ditches, in thickets, hedges, and such places. In a day or two the animals cease feeding, expel the last contents of the intestines, and then hide themselves under moss, grass, dead leaves, or the like rubbish. Here each forms for itself, with the anterior part of its muscular foot, a cavity sufficiently large to contain at least its shell. This cavity it enlarges and excavates by turning itself round on every side, then raising itself against the sides of the cavity, and at last against the