This study is one of the very first that investigates the effects of heavy metal pollution on food consumption and reproduction of terrestrial snails under semi-realistic field conditions. Two experiments were carried out using snails (Cepaea nemoralis) and food (Urtica dioica leaves) from different metal polluted locations and one reference location. The first experiment showed that both polluted and reference snails fed on high-metal leaves from a highly polluted location had significantly lower consumption rates than snails consuming leaves from the reference location. In the second experiment, snails from both locations used in the consumption experiment and from two low-polluted locations were kept on native soil and food in order to reproduce. No negative effect of heavy metal pollution on clutch size was found for the snails from the reference location and the low-polluted locations. Snails from the highly polluted location laid no eggs. This suggests that at high levels of metal pollution, reproduction is strongly negatively affected. We suggest that the absence of egg laying by snails from the highly polluted location results from a combination of decreased consumption and an increased demand of energy for the accumulation and detoxification of metals (decreased scope for growth). © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006.