Snail Snails are one of the most interesting creatures on Earth. Unfortunately, due to their slow movement and shell-based protection, they're often disregarded by humans. However, these beautiful mollusks have a lot to offer the world!
Snails are famous for leaving trails of slime behind them as they move around. This slime is actually a sign of a healthy snail! The slime helps with things like moving and protecting against germs and infections. Snails originated from the ocean, so their anatomy reflects this.
Snails aren't able to hear very well, but they have an excellent sense of smell! They can also taste with their tentacles. Their eyesight is quite poor, but snails are often able to detect light changes. Snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both female and male reproductive organs. After mating, the snail will lay about 500 eggs which will hatch into miniature versions of the adults.
While the shells of snails look like a good defense mechanism, they're actually quite vulnerable. They protect vital organs and provide camouflage, but that's it! Snails' soft bodies are much more noticeable than their shell.
The largest snail on Earth was over 39 pounds! The heaviest snail weighed 1/4th of its own mass! A snail can have up to 15,000 teeth in its lifetime! A snail can be traced back to the diminutive form of the Old English snaca, "snake" or "creeping thing."
Humans can even benefit from snails! Some species of snail produce a special secretion in their saliva that helps with healing. This secretion is used to help heal cuts, burns, and ulcers. Snails play important roles in the natural world as well. They are decomposers, meaning they eat other dead organisms! They also serve as a source of food for some animals.
The Giant African Land Snail is the largest snail on Earth! Just one of these snails can produce about 500 eggs a year, and they can live for up to 10 years. They also have sharp teeth that help them eat through cement, plaster, and stucco in order to reach their favorite food: plaster.