Sir C. Lyell, remarking on the wide range of Succinea putris, a land-shell which inhabits moist places on the borders of pools and streams suggested that water-fowl might have distributed its ova entangled among their feathers and it seems quite likely that ova of certain terrestrial kinds may be occasionally thus carried, either in the feathers or on the feet of birds; indeed, we have a near approach to proof of such transportal, the Rev. Canon Tristram, as we have seen, having once found ova, believed to be those of a Succinea, upon one of the feet of a mallard shot by him, on the wing, in the desert of Sahara. It is doubtful, however, whether Succinea, from the nature of the localities they often or usually inhabit, ought not, for the present purpose, to be classed with fresh-water, rather than with land-shells. Mr. Darwin suggested that the just-hatched young, possibly, might sometimes crawl upon the feet of ground-roosting birds, and thus get transported; and it certainly seems in the highest degree probable that such is the case, but, as far as I know, no observations in support of such a supposition have yet been made.
A tantalizing possibility, also first put by Darwin, is that of internal transport of organisms in the digestive tract of birds. Many bird species feed on snails, and given that no gastric juices occur in bird's crop, they can potentially survive for a while and maybe be discharged later elsewhere by the bird, or regurgitated by raptor if the bird falls prey to it. Kew stated:
In 1968, Biggs reported on the recovery of a living Succinea putris from a pigeon's crop at least 8 h after the bird had died. Indeed, although it seems even more unlikely, some snails can survive passage through the whole digestive tract of birds provided the shell is more or less unbroken. This has recently been shown to happen to a small estuarine snail, Hydrobia ulvae, which can survive passage through the digestive tract of Shelducks, and also in some small Japanese terrestrial snails, Tornatellides boeningi a proportion of which were recovered alive in the feces of two species of terrestrial bird they had been fed to.Twenty specimens of a Succinea, peculiarly packed together, and four of Pupa viuscornvi were once found by Mr. W. H. Dikes in the crop of a bearded titmouse (Parus biarmicus); all the shells, it is said, were uninjured, but it is not stated that any were observed lo be alive.
I don't think any of these forms of dispersal apply to the particular little snail in the above photo. Maybe it travelled on a pot plant we bought some time back in a garden centre, or, stuck to our clothes or shoes during an outing into some wetlands. Maybe, but just that any of the forms of transport Darwin and Kew discussed actually happen to snails shows you don't need wings to fly high.
Biggs, H. E. J. (1968). Succinea putris (L.) in a pigeon's crop Conchologist Newsletter, 24: 36.
Gerhard Cadée (2011). Hydrobia as "Jonah in the whale": shell repair after passing through the digestive tract of shelducks alive. Palaios, 26 (4), 245-249 DOI: 10.2110/palo.2010.p10-095rDarwin, C.R. (1959) On the Origin of Species. Read the book here.
Kew, H.W. (1893) The dispersal of shells: an inquiry into the means of dispersal possessed by fresh-water and land Mollusca. K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd. Read the book here.
Shinichiro Wada, Kazuto Kawakami and Satoshi Chiba (2011). Snails can survive passage through a bird's digestive system. Journal of Biogeography : doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02559.x