Apple Snail, 2011, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on cradled panel, 5"x5"
The apple snail is the main source of food for the endangered Snail Kite. The kites have a sharp beak adapted for eaily removing the snails from their shels.
The snails live in and on the water most of the year. They prefer wetland grasses that they can climb rather than lily pond vegetation, and climp up onto sawgrass and low hanging branches in April and May to lay their eggs in large white clusters.
The largest of the Florida snails, not much more is known about the life cycle of Apple Snails except that they are considered a bellweather species for Everglades restoration. They don't do well if the water is too low, but if they are thriving, there's enough water but not too much, the water is clean enough, the birds are fed, and the natural cycles of the Everglades are healthy.