Cornu aspersum is native to Britain, western Europe and regions that surround the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
An individual Cornu aspersum may lay multiple masses of eggs in moist soil. Egg laying periods may be separated by a month or longer. Cornu aspersum is a hermaphrodite, possessing both male and female sex organs. It may self-fertilize or fertilize with another snail. The young Cornu aspersum resemble the adults, but are much smaller with thin shells. Under favorable conditions Cornu aspersum may mature within a year and adults can normally live about a year. During dry periods the snails can become dormant and sealed within the shell. They can remain in this dormant state for many months.
Cornu aspersum has been distributed widely worldwide, intentionally (as an escargot species) and accidentally. Cornu aspersum is an edible species and was originally introduced for escargot dishes. It has escaped confinement and become established as a pest.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, 2009) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA, 2009) consider Cornu aspersum to be a plant pest. Quarantines have been established to prevent importing the snail in plant and soil material. In the United States, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington are under quarantine. It is illegal to import snails or slugs into the United States without permission from the Plant Protection and Quarantine Division (PPQ), Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS, 2009). In addition, APHIS oversees interstate transportation of snails.