Snails
Lifecycle
Images
Land snails (Succina ovalis) crawl on the ground, creeping along on their large, flat foot; a special gland in the foot secretes mucus (a slimy fluid) that helps the snail move. Snails have two pairs of tentacles on the head. Land snails have a light-sensitive eyespot located on each of the larger tentacles; water-dwelling snail eyespots are at the base of the tentacles. The smaller pair of tentacles is used for the sense of smell and the sense of touch. Snails are hermaphroditic; they have both male and female sex organs in one animal. Reproduction occurs after an exchange of spermatophores (sperm containing sacs) between consenting adults. Adult brown garden snails lay about 80 spherical, pearly white eggs at a time into a hole in the topsoil. They may lay eggs up to six times a year. It takes about 2 years for snails to mature.



An empty snail shell

Diagram of external anatomy


What's for Dinner?
Fact or Infotainment?
Most snails eat living and decaying plants, but some are scavengers and some are predators. They eat using a radula, a rough tongue-like organ that has thousands of tiny tentacles (tooth-like protrusions). Snails feed on a variety of living plants as well as on decaying plant matter. On plants they chew irregular holes with smooth edges in leaves and can clip succulent plant parts. They can also chew fruit and young plant bark.

Birds eat snails and so do the French.

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