Brown-lipped snails are air breathing land snails, they breathe through a hole called a pneumostome near the shell opening, snails open and close their pneumostome as they breathe. Closing this is important as it allows the snail to ensure that moisture does not escape through evaporation. It is important for the snails to maintain moisture to prevent their bodies from drying out. If the atmosphere is particularly dry the snail will retract into its shell and shut down into a period of inactivity known as estivation until the moisture in the atmosphere increases.
The colours and banding on the shell of the Brown-lipped snail can vary greatly. The shell can be a very light yellow to a very dark brown, or even a pink or orange variation. They could have 0-5 bands (or stripes). Over the years many studies have taken place to try and identify why the shells look so very different from each other, but no definite answer has been settled upon. One likely contributing factor may be for camouflage, whether this is a thick, dark woodland or lightly grassed area. Camouflage would indeed be very useful for the snails, as they are fed upon by birds, small mammals and even invertebrate predators.
Although snails are able to withdraw into their shells for protection from predators, unfortunately this is not always successful. A main predator of the Brown lipped snail is the Song thrush who has learnt to crack open the snail shell by striking the snail against a stone. Some Song thrushes have also been known to eat the entire snail, shell and all!
The snail shell is made mainly of calcium carbonate, with a small amount of protein. This makes it a good source of calcium for some predators and increases the desirability of the snail as a tasty and nutritious meal. As a snail grows and ages, the snail shell also grows and the shell walls harden to give greater protection to the snail inside.