Discover here some of the most fascinating snail facts for kids. Snail is the collective name often applied to gastropod molluscs, land snails, and terrestrial pulmonate. Some other snails also fall into this category such as garden snail, sea snail, and freshwater snail.
Snails occupy different types of habitats ranging from deserts, ditches, to the abyssal depths of seawater. Terrestrial snails, though present in fewer numbers, are also the essential members of the family.
A good many number of these species can also be found in fresh water. Many snails are herbivores as they rely on plants and algae for their daily consumption.
Snail Facts For Kids
How Much Do Snails Sleep?
- For the most part of their lives, garden snails spend their time inside their shells especially in winter. Those living in the Northern Hemisphere may begin their hibernation as early as September during which they congregate in old walls, roots of shrubs, or even burying themselves few inches beneath the earth.
- While they are in hibernation, the mouth of the shell is fully sealed. Young snails, however, may awake temporarily from hibernation but the adults are seldom seen until the following April. They are known to remain inactive for as long as 4 or 6 years.
- Under usual conditions, however, their sleep is ended by the return of wet weather and due to rain, the appearance of snails suddenly being changed.
- The growth of the snail entirely depends on weather; they normally prefer damp, humid and warm conditions.
- There are around 15,000 horny teeth inside the snail’s jaw.
- The average lifespan of a snail is 5 – 10 years but 2 years is more usual.
- The Giant African Land Snail, being native to East Africa and is now found in Hawaiian Islands and Indo-Pacific Basin, is one of the largest in the mollusks family. They can be as long as 20 cm (8 inches) with a diameter measuring at 10 cm (4 inches).
- The giant African snail can lay as many as 100 – 400 eggs in one season. They can survive in cold conditions.
- The population of snail increases rapidly in summer, wet spring, and winter season.
What is the Second Largest Snail in Britain?
- Garden snail (Helix aspersa) is the second largest snail in Britain with its shell measuring up to 1.5 inches (3.2 cm) across, with 4 or 5 whorls.
- It is characterized by its tabby appearance which is due to five chestnut brown or dark spiral bands on a yellowish, buff or fawn background.
- In the first look, its shell may seem mottled as its calcium carbonate that is likely to wear off as the snail becomes older.
- The two pairs of tentacles are positioned at the snail’s head; the larger of which has eyes at the tips. Initially limited to the native European range, garden snail is now being introduced into many places.
- Now it lives all throughout the range of United States, Australia, and much of the Europe. Garden snail is also referred to as common snail. However, these snails are not found in the northern Europe but occur in the Portugal, Spain, France, Netherlands, Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea.
- Garden snail has been introduced in Southern Africa, Cuba, St. Helena, North and South America, and Mauritius.
- It is commonly found in Britain, but is absent from the north of Scotland, and its largest concentration is in southern England near the sea.
- The New Zealand mud snail occupies a wide range of aquatic habitats all throughout U.S. such as streams, rivers, reservoirs of the West, estuaries in the west coast, and the Great Lakes in the Midwest.
- However, they are absent from the wetlands and small ponds. Although snails can survive in a wide range of temperatures (0 – 32 degree centigrade), they largely prefer to reside in thermally stable stream.
- Some of the most preferred habitats include foothills streams, turbulent mountain streams, geo-thermal driven streams, regulated rivers, flash-flooding creeks, and canyon-bound streams.
How Do Snails Move?
Snails move by the activity of waves of muscles passing forward along the sole of the foot. It unleashes mucus from the back of the head to make the prominent slime track. Sometimes, it gives out bright yellow mucus which is the sign of a snail being irritated.
What Do Snails Eat? Snail Diet
Garden snails predominantly feed on several plants, such as hops, lettuce, alder, nasturtium, primrose, and more specifically, holly and nettle. They also like to eat fruits, earthworms and dead slugs.
Snails eat calcium food which is basically required for their shell. Read on more about What do Snails Eat.
Reproduction | Snail Facts For Kids
- The female lays eggs ranging from 40 to 100 in number and are laid soon after mating.
- These spherical eggs are laid in holes or sometimes in a nest with a depth measuring at 1 – 1.5 inches (2.5 – 4 cm) and the diameter of 5 mm.
- The eggs are hatched in about 14 – 28 days, depending on the temperature and soil moisture. It lays large number of eggs in damp weather.