Snails are part of the mollusk family, which includes slugs and clams. We can easily find them in damp places like gardens because they need moisture to live. If you look at the small space between their head and shell, you can see a pair of feelers called “eyestalks.” As a unique creature, snails are pretty attractive for kids to explore, and there are quite a lot of fun facts about snails for kids that will definitely surprise them. Snails are usually shorter than their eyes and help snails figure out where they are going. Moreover, their shells work as protection and their organs need it to survive. When they are born they don’t usually have any kind of shell on their backs, so they need to find one before they can grow into an adult.
To help kids in understanding snails better, we have prepared some fun facts about snails for kids, so you will gain more knowledge about this humble animal. Whether you are interested in how they survive or just curious about their unique traits, you will find out everything in this article. Without any further ado, let’s jump to the list!
1. Snails Have Up To 14,000 Teeth
Let’s start the list of fun facts about snails for kids with the fact that snails and slugs chew with a jaw and a radula, which is a flexible band of thousands of microscopic teeth. A garden snail has approximately 14,000 teeth, although other species might have over 20,000. The radula scrap up and rasp the food. While for bigger pieces of food such as leaves, the jaw will chop them off first before the radula rasp all of them.
That’s not the most stunning aspect, though. The teeth of a limpet, a type of aquatic snail, are the toughest organic material that human has ever known, and it’s even stronger than titanium.
2. Snails Have Lung Or Gill Depending On The Habitat
Depending on the species and habitat, snails may have lungs or gills. Some land snails and some marine snails have lungs and gills, respectively. Meanwhile, Apple snails belonging to the genus Pomacea have a gill and a fully functional lung. The lung serves as both a source of oxygen and a flotation device.
In addition, as pulmonate or lung snails, pond snails may fill their pallial cavity with water and obtain oxygen from it. This is especially true when the pond in which they dwell is frozen.
3. The Majority Snails Are Herbivores
Snails eat leaves, stems, and flowers, and the majority of them are herbivores. Meanwhile, predatory omnivores or even carnivores can be found in some bigger species and marine-based species. Depending on their size, age, environment, and nutritional needs, each species has various eating habits. You will likely find snails in your garden because the gardprovides them with plenty of fresh plants and leaves to consume.
Carnivorous snails devour a variety of tiny animals, including slugs and earthworms. Powelliphanta species live in New Zealand and feed on other gastropod mollusks like slugs and earthworms, as well as other terrestrial animals.
4. Snails Walk Using Muscly Foot
Snails are invertebrates, meaning that they lack a backbone. They are creatures with lengthy bodies and no legs. Snails and slugs move by using a large muscle called a foot on the bottom of their bodies. They walk on one muscular ‘foot’ and carry their shell on their backs.
Snails and slugs move by contracting small muscles in their ‘foot’ in a wave motion from front to rear. As the wave recedes, various portions of the foot take turns gripping the ground and propelling the animal ahead.
5. They Can Stay Awake Up To 30 Hours
Snails sleep for several hours at a time, on and off. They can, however, stay up for up to 30 hours after they’ve rested. You might even know a couple of folks who have similar sleeping habits. When it comes to sleeping patterns, snails aren’t as fussy. They’ll sleep for 13 hours and take seven naps.
Snails aren’t particularly aware of the day-night cycle. They are concerned about moisture conditions. They come out at night to feed and rest in sheltered areas during the day, such as under rocks. If the environment becomes too dry, the snail retreats within its shell, which it can shut and stay in for several months if necessary.
6. Unique Tentacles To Observe The Environment
Snails use their tentacles for gripping and feeding in most cases. Many are sensory organs, responsive to touch, vision, or the smell or taste of specific meals or threats in diverse ways. They also use these tentacles to gather information about their surroundings.
Each tip of the pair of tentacles on the top of the head features a little black mark. The shorter tentacles of a snail almost always point to the ground, in contrast to the eye stalks. The snail’s sense cells on the surface of its tentacles provide a picture of its environment’s smell and also aid in the quest for food. Light and darkness are detected by these tentacles.
7. Snails Don’t Have Ears
In fact, snails do not have ears of any kind. However, this does not imply that they cannot hear. They use vibrations to detect various noises. Snails have tentacles on their bodies to help them hear. They aren’t completely deaf because they can detect sounds by picking up vibrations, but they can’t describe those noises or distinguish between different noises because they lack a hearing organ like humans and animals.
Moreover, the snail has a mouth and a special tongue called a radula. Hundreds of sharp barbs cover the radula, which act as teeth for chewing food.
8. Escargot, The French Cuisine Delicacy
More than just a fun fact about snails for kids, because this next fact will be loved by mom and dad, too! Did you know that snails can be a tasty and delicious food? In French cuisine, the snail is known as escargot. It’s commonly served as a hors d’oeuvre in France and parts of India. Many other countries around the world also eat snails, generally as a fried meal.
Escargots have a clam-like flavor and texture. Many people describe snails as tasting like fish or chicken, with a mushroom-like earthiness. The snail, on the other hand, takes on the flavor of the butter or sauce in which it is cooked for the most part.
9. Carnivorous Snails Have Better Vision Than Herbivores
Snails can’t see very well. They have no muscles to focus the images, despite the fact that they have a lens on their eye. They can detect light and dark and determine the location of the light source. In addition, they are colorblind.
Moreover, some snails can simply distinguish between light and dark. Meanwhile, others can see prey and other things clearly. Although each snail species is unique, carnivorous snails have greater vision than herbivorous snails since they require it to hunt.
10. Snails Travel With 3.28 Feet Per Hour Speed
Snails seem to walk very slow. However, did you know the speed of snails? According to the Exeter study, terrestrial snails can walk 3.28 feet in an hour on average. This suggests that they will cover 78.72 feet or 0.014 miles in a day if they move nonstop for 24 hours.
Snails move at the proverbial snail’s pace. They produce mucus to enhance motility by reducing friction, as well as to protect the snail from mechanical injury caused by sharp things. This implies they can crawl along sharp items, such as a straight razor, without getting hurt.
11. Snails Can Do Hibernation
Snails require water to live. As a result, if the weather does not cooperate, they can sleep for up to three years. Snails have been known to go into hibernation during the winter, depending on their location. Alternatively, they can engage in estivation, often known as ‘summer slumber’, which aids in the escape from hot conditions.
Sleeping is not the same as hibernation or estivation. While the bodies of the creatures stay dormant throughout these periods, their bodies undergo drastic physiological changes.
12. Snails Love Rain
Snails prefer rain since their bodies consist of mostly water. As most people are aware, the snails leave a path of “slime” behind them in order to survive. Moreover, snails breathe through their skin, and water activates osmosis, allowing them to inhale oxygen. If the sun dries off their skin, they will perish.
Furthermore, wet surfaces are easier for snails to move over than dry ones. As a result, they always come out when it starts to rain. Snails, surprisingly, are choosy about the paths they travel, which explains why we only see them on our sidewalks when it rains.
13. Snails Born From Eggs
Snails reproduce in the same way that nearly all other animals do: they mate and lay eggs. Furthermore, snails can be hermaphrodites, which implies they can fertilize each other. Snails can reproduce as often as once a month when conditions are ideal, such as warm temperatures and high humidity.
In late spring or summer, they lay their little white eggs in a clump close beneath the soil’s surface. The eggs hatch after a few weeks, and tiny baby snails emerge with their shells intact! Their shells are colorless, fragile, and delicate at this stage.
14. Snails Can’t Move Backward
Snails and slugs move by contracting small muscles in their ‘foot’ in a wave motion from front to rear. As the wave recedes, various portions of the foot take turns gripping the ground and propelling the animal ahead. Moving backwards would require the snail to drag itself across dry ground, reducing grip and increasing foot abrasion damage. Snails and slugs are naturally adaptable and can turn around quickly if they need to retreat.
15. The World’s Biggest Snails
We have come to the last fun fact about snails for kids, which is our fact #15. The Giant Whelk, the world’s largest snail, is found in Australia. The shell of this massive marine mollusk can reach a length of 70cm. They are predatory snails that eat huge polychaete worms that live in tubes. They can be found from the intertidal zone to 50 meters of water depth throughout Australia’s northern coastline, as well as in southern New Guinea and Indonesia.
Furthermore, the enormous African land snail is the world’s largest land snail. The huge African land snail can reach a length of 38 cm and a weight of 1 kg. These colossal beasts originated in East Africa, but they may now be found on every continent except Antarctica.