Snails are one of the ancient living animals on this earth. Their ancestors have been around for 500 million years. They have many interesting characteristics and can be a great pet option for your kids.
We have listed some popular and engaging snail facts for kids in this article. Hope you have a fun time reading it.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Snails for Kids
Snails are often kept as pets in houses. Be it the land snail or the freshwater one. Kids have an amazing love and curiosity about this small animal. But be careful while petting one as they can be vigorous plant-eaters. So make sure you keep your plants away and safe from them.
1. Ever heard of snail races?
The snails that are found on land are very slow. The reason behind this is the absence of bones inside their body. They use muscle tissues to move. Their speed is usually between 0.5 – 0.7 inches per second.
They leave a trail behind while moving because of the slime they release which is a lubricant that helps them move forward. People have fun organising snail races in various parts of the world.
2. They can not hear sounds
Snails belong to the class of gastropods and the animals belonging to this class cannot hear as they lack ears. Snails have eyes and olfactory organs that help them to survive. Their sense of smell helps them majorly to search for food.
Although they do not need a large amount of food and can adapt well to the conditions they live in. They prefer to live near the availability of food. They can see objects that are very near to them.
3. They carry their home on their back
It is the most attractive feature of snails. They carry a spiral-shaped shell on their back. They are born with this shell and the shells are soft at birth but harden afterwards. It is made up of calcium carbonate and protects their soft body and internal organs such as their lungs.
It also protects them from predators. They withdraw themselves inside it when they sense danger and during hibernation and sleeping. They can not survive without this shell as it also protects them from the climatic conditions of their habitat.
4. You can find them almost everywhere
Snails are found in almost every corner of the world except for the polar regions due to the excessive cold. You can find them on rocks as well as leaves. You can also find them under the water and stems of the plants.
They can adapt to human habitats as well and live in gardens and public parks. They live in rainforests, woodlands, and limestone and Rocky outcrops. They are also found in grasslands.
5. They are ancient animals
The ancestors of the snails are some of the ancient animals that existed on earth. Their fossils have been found and researched and it is revealed that they existed around 500 million years ago.
Their lifespan is limited to 3 – 7 years in the wild. However, they are known to survive longer in captivity, up to 10 – 15 years or even longer. You can think of getting one as a pet for your kid.
6. They are eaten by humans
The land snails have been made to the diet of humans for centuries. The European countries of Spain and France have considered them a delicacy. However, they are not common in diets everywhere.
They can be a good source of calcium for humans and other animals as well. Their consumption should be monitored carefully because some of them are attacked by parasites which when consumed by humans or animals might cause severe diseases.
7. They possess thousands of teeth
Snails possess tongues like humans but their tongues are different in the way that they have rows of tiny teeth on them. These are also known as radula instead of teeth.
The snails can have around 15,000 – 20,000 of such teeth which helps them in grinding the food that they eat. They use their tongue to scrape off the food such as leaves, which is their favourite. They are also considered pests as they can destroy large amounts of crops on farms.
8. They have both gills and lungs
Depending on the species, snails can possess both lungs and gills. The land snails possess lungs and the snails that live underwater breathe through their gills, just like the fishes do.
Some of the water snails have reduced gills and have difficulty taking oxygen from the water. These snails often come to the surface of the water to breathe in air which then goes into the lungs to provide them with oxygen.
9. The Snails can hibernate
In dry climatic conditions, the snails stay inactive for a long time to preserve energy. During the winters, the snails enter the state of hibernation. The duration of their hibernation is 4 – 6 months.
During this time, their palpitations and metabolism slow down. An interesting fact here is that to protect themselves from the prolonged cold, they can hibernate for 3 years. They also hibernate this long to survive for longer periods of time.
10. They are mainly herbivores
The snails are commonly herbivores. Their diet consists of leaves, flowers, stems, fruits, and garden crops. The underwater snails and some of the larger snails can be carnivores and omnivores as well.
They prefer calcium-enriched food which keeps them healthy and helps in their growth. Calcium also keeps their shells hard and thick to protect their inner bodies from any outside danger. They can also feed on dead organic matter, fungi and algae.
11. Their shells keeps growing
We know that the shells of the snails are soft at birth. It keeps hardening as they grow. This shell keeps growing along with the growth of the snail. Snails can get as big as the size of your hand.
They can recover from minor damages and cracks in their shells but once broken completely, they can not replace it by growing another shell.
Different Types of Snails
The snails have a wide range of varieties and species. There are more than 60,000 species of them in the world. We have listed here the most common snails that can be easily seen in our surroundings.
- Apple snail – They are the freshwater snails that are kept as a pet in aquariums. You need to have a large tank to keep it as a pet.
- Garden snail – It is common in Europe but also found in other parts of the world as well. They destroy crops and plants on a large scale.
- Giant African Land Snail – They can get as big as 8 inches in length. They live from 5 – 7 years. They cause damage to agriculture.
- Mediterranean Green Snail – They are new species and have been around since the 1980s only. They are found in the rainforests of Northern Africa and Western Australia.
- Orchid Snail – These are very small in size. They are known to destroy the orchards and the greenhouses.
- Roman Snail – It has a beautiful shell and is used in the French dish Escargot. It is a land snail and has two pairs of tentacles on its head.
Snails are herbivores and eat vegetables, fungi, seaweed, and fruits.
Snails have the highest number of teeth. They can have around 20,000 teeth.
The snails do not have bones in their body. They move with the contraction of the muscle tissues. They need to create a slime track on which they can glide or move. This slime making takes time and that is the reason for their slow movement.
The scientific name of snail is Achatinoidea
Snail is not an insect. It is a different kind of animal.
It belongs to the class Gastropoda. Animals belonging to this class have a coiled shell that is big enough for them to completely withdraw into.
Most common snails have a tongue similar to the humans except for the fact that theirs is covered with rows of tiny teeth.
Snails use muscular contractions to move. Their feet attach to the surface on which they are moving with the help of the slime they create from the glands under their mouth.
The snails are invertebrates which means they have only one foot to move around.
Snails live almost everywhere except for the polar regions due to the cold weather. They live near the availability of food. They are found in tropical and subtropical rainforests, dry rainforests, temperate rainforests, Native grasslands, limestone outcrops, rocky outcrops, eucalypt forests and woodlands.
Snails are known to live underwater, both freshwater and oceans.
The snails create their shells through the process of biomineralization. They have a shell gland that secretes the organic matrix of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids that makes the hard base of the shell. Calcium carbonate is responsible for making the mineral of the shell.
A snail is unable to survive outside its shell. It protects it from environmental conditions and predators.
Snails are indeed born with their shells but they are soft during birth and gets hardened later.
An average snail has a lifespan of 3 – 7 years.
The weight of the snail depends on the type of the snail but the average weight is 0.03 pounds.
The adult snails are around 7.9 inches in length and 2.8 inches tall.
They come out in rain to get some water as they get dry very quickly being active. They need water to survive and to protect themselves from harmful conditions.
Snails are invertebrates, meaning they do not have a backbone.
The snails that live underwater have gills as a part of their respiratory system.
The snails have lungs for breathing air. Most of the land snails breathe in air through lungs and those having reduced gills and live underwater come to the surface to breathe in air through lungs.
Snails are invertebrates and do not possess a backbone.
The snails do have tail-like prolongation that is at times called tails.
Snails possess eyes at the ends of their horns. They can see nearby objects through them.
Generally, snails are nocturnal and stay active during most of the night.
The snails belong to the gastropods class and animals belonging to this class have no ear and hence can not hear.
Generally, they are known to hibernate for a maximum of three years.
You can find snails with a wide range of colours depending on the species and habitat. The most common shell colour is reddish-brown with the snail being a bluish colour itself.
They are the biodiversity predictors and monitor climate change. They help in the forest decomposition process and the nitrification of the soil. Their shells are an important source of calcium for other animals.
These were some amazing snail facts for kids. Now you know how important they are for the conservation of the environment and how they help in the various natural processes. We hope that the article helped gain some insight into the life of the snails.