Facts about snails

Facts about snails
  1. Salt: Snails die if you put salt on them
  2. Largest snail species: The largest snail species in the world is Syrinx aruanus from Australia, which can grow up to 77.2 cm long and weigh a whopping 18 kg!
  3. Longest snail species: The world’s longest snail is the species Parenteroxenos doglieli, which lives in sea cucumbers (Holothuroidea) and can grow up to 130 cm long
  4. Toxicity: Some cone snails are so toxic that they can kill humans
  5. Teeth on the tongue: Snails feed by dragging a tooth-covered tongue-like organ (radula) over their food. There can be over 14,000 teeth on a snail’s tongue!
  6. Top speed: When a vine snail moves fastest, it travels 1.3 cm per second
  7. Moving: Snails typically move in irregular patterns. Often the patterns are circular, so the snails effectively move in a ring
  8. Mucus: When snails move, they secrete mucus that enables them to move on many different types of surfaces and generally makes their movement easier. The slime also acts as a strong glue that makes the snails stick to walls, trees, ceilings, etc.
  9. Strength: Snails are relatively strong animals; they can carry up to 10 times their own body weight
  10. Age: How old a snail lives depends mainly on the species and the snail’s habitat (of course, a predator can drastically shorten a snail’s lifespan). Most species live somewhere between 5 and 15 years on average. However, some snails can live up to 25 years
Fact: Snails are hermaphrodites, but can only breed if they mate with other snails
Attribution: Jangle1969 + Joris M. Koene + Hinrich Schulenburg – Wikipedia.org

Fact: Snails are hermaphrodites but must mate with other snails to breed. Some snails have a ‘love dart’ that they insert into each other’s tissue when mating


The snails’ senses

  • Hearing: Snails are by definition deaf, as they don’t have hearing like humans and many other animals – but they are able to pick up vibrations in the air, which provides a form of hearing
  • Vision: Snails can see, but not to the same extent as humans, for example. Their vision is based on general light and dark impressions
  • Tentacles: Most land snails have two sets of tentacles; the upper one is their vision and the lower one their hearing. They can retract one or more tentacles at a time


Video about snail mating

Here’s an entertaining video about how snails mate:


More facts about snails

  • Winter hibernation: Some snails hibernate during the winter months. They cover their body with a thin layer of mucus that prevents them from drying out. Some snails may also hibernate during the summer months to survive any drought. When hibernating, snails feed on fat that they have “put on” during the year
  • Nocturnal animals: Slugs are most active at night. They generally stay out of direct sunlight, which is one of the reasons why they are most often seen on cloudy days (often immediately after rain)
  • Snail species: It is estimated that there are around 200,000 species of snails, although only around 50,000 are known to exist
  • Food: Vine snails feed primarily on plants and vegetables, but they can also eat soil (especially to get calcium for their shells). Other snail species are carnivores, and there are also omnivorous (omnivorous) snails
  • Lungs: Snails breathe via lungs
  • Evolution: Vineyard snails evolved from sea snails around 600 million years ago
  • Delicacy: Snails are eaten as a delicacy in several countries (including France, where they are called ‘escargots’)
  • Largest garden snail: The world’s largest garden snail is the tiger snail (Achatina achatina), which can grow up to 30 cm long
  • Currency: In some countries and cultures – such as New Guinea – shells were previously used as currency
  • No gender: Snails are hermaphrodites and have genitalia of both sexes. However, they cannot breed alone; they must mate with another snail in order to lay eggs