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Facts about kauri snail

Kauri snail, Omahuta State Forest, Northland. Photo: Dick Veitch.
Kauri snail

There are two species of kauri snail:

  • Paryphanta busbyi - up to 79 mm shell diameter, distribution from Kaitaia south (Northland only)
  • Paryphanta watti - up to 62 mm shell diameter, distribution: northern Northland (Te Paki)

These giants were once widespread in Northland before human settlement. Many of them are now endangered or threatened, and inhabit a more restricted area of Northland and the islands offshore.

Interesting ecology

Kauri snail. Photo: K Hawkins.
Kauri snail

  • Giant snails may live to 20 years or more.
  • Mating appears to be triggered by climatic conditions, such as rainfall, and can last for 10 hours or more.
  • Snail hatchlings spend an unknown period living in trees and shrubs up to 6 metres above the ground.
  • The kauri snail is carnivorous and cannibalistic. Its diet consists of earthworms, insects, insect larvae, and snails.
  • Kauri snails are also highly mobile, and have been known to move 10 metres in 2 weeks.


Kauri snails inhabit moist areas of forest and native scrub. They live in areas of high soil fertility and abundant earthworms.


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