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10 interesting facts about snails

When you’re moving at a snail’s pace, it usually means being extremely slow. On the flip side, it can also mean being patient enough to maintain a steady pace. Snails may be painfully slow, but there’s a lot more to them than their reputation as nature’s slowpokes.
Snails are captivating creatures that are crucial to the environment from their slimy mucus breaking into the skincare industry to snail caviar, these snail facts will change your attitude about these slimy wonders.
Although most people find snails disgusting, many still consider them as pests while some find them as a yummy delicacy. These garden-dwelling gastropods may seem like sticky squatters, but did you know that they’re actually pollinators, just like butterflies and bees? Join us as we shell out fun facts about snails that are sure to fascinate you!

10 interesting facts about snails

1. Snails have the most teeth of any animal

A snail’s mouth may be the size of a pin, but it can have up to 20,000 teeth depending on the species. More surprisingly, the strongest natural material in the world can be found in a species of marine snail’s teeth. Upon close study, limpets’ teeth were shown to be 5 times stronger than spider silk, withstanding extreme pressures that would turn carbon into diamond.
Most snail species have a tongue that’s similar to ours, except theirs is covered in rows and rows of tiny little teeth, a snail will use its toothy tongue ¬called the radula almost like a file, scraping off the softer parts of their food when eating. Their teeth normally get worn down by this action, so they’re replaced regularly.

2. Snails can sleep for 3 years

Aside from their crazy number of teeth, these small critters have some more surprising tricks up their sleeve or shells. As if their signature slime wasn’t any indication, snails need constant moisture to survive.
When temperatures get fatally dry, snails have to sleep so they can secrete enough mucus to survive. Generally, nap time for a snail can last from a few hours up to 3 years. As glamorous as it may sound, snails don’t always sleep for three years in their own mucus. When the weather is just right, snails do tend to follow a pretty regular sleeping schedule. How’s that for relatable snail facts?

3. snails are everywhere

Snails can be found everywhere on Earth, Snails have made their habitat all over the world, including the Arctic and Antarctic oceans! They adapt to their environment, so there are lots of different types of snails with different habitats. Land snails are the most common species of snail, but there are even some that have adapted to live in water. In North America alone, there are over 500 different species of snails.

4. Over 40,000 snail species exist

Snails are gastropods from the phylum Mollusca. They inhabit various environments, from rainforests to the ocean.
From the world’s largest to the smallest snail, snails play essential roles in ecosystems by decomposing organic matter and recycling nutrients. Some species even feature in medical research, while some become pets.
Land snails have lungs, while freshwater and sea snails rely on gills. Furthermore, sea snails can extract oxygen through their skin to stay underwater and evade predators.
The African Giant Snail is the largest land snail, reaching almost 8 inches in length, and the Syrinx aruanus holds the record for the largest sea snail shell at 35 inches.

5. The Giant African land snail is one of the largest snail species

As previously mentioned, the Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) is one of the biggest land snails in the world. This creature can reach 7-8 inches (18-20 cm) long, and its shells can measure around 3-4 inches (7-10 cm) wide. Originally from East Africa, specifically Kenya and Tanzania, the Giant African Snail has entered many parts of the world due to its popularity in the pet trade. Incidentally, it has also become an invasive species in numerous countries.
These snails thrive in warm and humid environments, preferring areas with abundant vegetation that provide them with various food sources and ample shelter.

6. Snails have a unique pair of eyes

Snails use their tentacle to navigate their environment. For example, land snails have tentacles on top of their heads–with eyes on the tips–while others have eyes at the base of their tentacles or inside their shells. Most land snails have two or more pairs of tentacles. Unlike land snails, marine snails only have one pair of tentacles.
Sea snails have eyes at the bottom of their bodies. However, snails don’t have sharp vision like humans do. They mainly detect light and shadows, which helps them avoid predators and find food.
To compensate for their limited vision, snails rely on their shorter tentacles, which they use to smell and feel their surroundings. Snail eyes contain a light-sensitive pigment and lens.

7. The Cone snail is deadly

Although most snails are not dangerous, certain species pose risks to humans and other animals under certain circumstances. For instance, the Cone snail, living in warm tropical waters, has venomous harpoons to immobilize prey. Although these aquatic snails usually don’t threaten humans directly, some cone snails have highly potent and lethal venom. To date, cone snail stings have claimed 27 human casualties.
Another concern is freshwater snails that carry the parasite Schistosoma, a type of flatworm. Millions of people across the globe suffer from schistosomiasis, a disease you can contract when coming into contact with water inhabited by infected snails. Schistosomiasis can cause symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, and blood in urine or stool. It can also lead to long-term complications if left untreated.

8. snails are edible

People have eaten edible snails as a delicacy for centuries. Edible snails include the garden snail, the Roman snail, and the Turkish snail. The practice of eating snails, called “escargot,” has a long history in Mediterranean and French cuisine. People cook snails with garlic, butter, and herbs to create delicious French escargot.
Snail caviar, made from the eggs of certain species, is a highly prized delicacy. The eggs are harvested, processed, and transformed into tiny, flavorful pearls. Many restaurants serve snail caviar. Like fish caviar, snail eggs are often a gourmet ingredient in the culinary world.
Many people might hesitate to eat snails, but snail meat is highly nutritious. Snail meat contains essential amino acids and minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron. Moreover, it also has less fat. So it is safe to say that snails are not only delicious but healthy as well.

9. Snails can lay thousands of eggs

Snails can lay different numbers of eggs depending on the species and environment. Some lay a few dozen, while others lay hundreds or even thousands at once. The tiny eggs measure from a few millimeters to a couple of centimeters. Often snails die after they lay eggs.
Snail eggs are transparent, making them difficult for predators to spot. After a snail lays eggs, they develop before hatching into tiny snails called juveniles. The waiting time for these eggs to hatch depends on the species, temperature, and humidity. Given the right circumstances, it may take several weeks before the eggs hatch. However, if the conditions are unfavorable, like during extreme cold or drought, the eggs may go dormant until conditions improve.

10. Snail mucus is good for your skin

Did you know that snail mucus or snail mucin is a primary ingredient in today’s skincare products? It is precious to the cosmetic industry for its anti-aging, hydrating, and skin-repairing properties.
Mucin, also known as snail slime, contains proteins, enzymes, hyaluronic acid, copper peptides, antimicrobial peptides, iron, zinc, and proteoglycans. Furthermore, it moisturizes your skin, combats aging, protects the skin barrier, soothes irritation, and potentially protects against skin cancer.
South Korea is particularly famous for its use of snail mucin in skincare.

So there you have it, with all these fascinating snail facts, what will you do with your newfound knowledge? If you’re out in the garden and you see a snail, take a closer look to see if you can learn even more about this amazing animal by observing it in action.

Clement Christopher

Clement Christopher is a content writer with a passion for writing unique and compelling contents about nature that grab readers attention. For the past 4 years, he has been working with clients to write contents that not only looks great but also spur interest in nature. His knack for nature compels him to volunteer at some animal shelter and also visit some zoos. He is always looking for opportunities to write and bring a unique perspective and creative approach to every project.

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