Slugs & Snails

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The protoconch, or first shell that a snail is born with, grows with the snail as the animal's mantle -- an organ that lines the shell -- releases new shell material that expands the shell before hardening. This shell the snail was born with becomes the center of the spiral.

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  • How Do Snails Breathe?

    Q: How Do Snails Breathe?

    A: Snails can be divided into two categories when discussing manners of breathing: those with lungs and those with gills. Pulmonate (lung) snails assimilate oxygen through the thin wall ("lung") of their mantel cavity. Other snails breathe using gills.
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  • What Do Sea Snails Eat?

    Q: What Do Sea Snails Eat?

    A: Sea snails are generally omnivorous. They eat algae and sometimes feed on smaller snails as well. Some species, such as the cone snail, are predatory sea snails. Smaller cone snails tend to eat marine works, while larger ones can prey on live fish.
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  • How Are Snails Born?

    Q: How Are Snails Born?

    A: Snails are born out of white/yellow eggs from their mother or father, as snails are hermaphrodites, and hatch approximately 2 or 4 weeks after being laid. For the baby snails to hatch, the weather has to be the perfect mix of warm and damp weather.
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  • Where Do Snails Come From?

    Q: Where Do Snails Come From?

    A: Fossil evidence dating back 550 million years identifies snail-like mollusks inhabiting the sea floor. Several million years later, snails adapted to land, breathing with lungs rather than gills. Snails now live in wide-ranging habitats from deserts to tropical climates, at sea level and in mountainous regions.
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  • What Is the Largest Snail in the World?

    Q: What Is the Largest Snail in the World?

    A: The African giant snail is generally considered to be the world's largest land snail; it can reach a length of 20 centimeters, or about 8 inches. The largest marine snail species is the Australian trumpet, which can reach a length of 91 centimeters, which is over 36 inches.
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  • What Is the Difference Between a Snail Vs. a Slug?

    Q: What Is the Difference Between a Snail Vs. a Slug?

    A: The most-noticeable difference between a snail and a slug is the slug's lack of a shell. On a snail, the shell houses and protects the visceral hump, where the snail's organs are located. A slug, on the other hand, may have an internal "shell," which is more like a calcium deposit, that helps protect the internal organs.
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  • Is a Snail a Mammal or a Reptile?

    Q: Is a Snail a Mammal or a Reptile?

    A: Snails are neither mammals nor reptiles. They belong to the phylum Mollusca and are classified as gastropods. Gastropods are characterized as having a single shell that is capable of hiding them completely.
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  • How Do Arthropods Move?

    Q: How Do Arthropods Move?

    A: Most arthropods move through their segmental appendages. Their exoskeleton and muscles, which are connected to the inside of the skeleton, act together as a lever system, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica. The exoskeleton provides a large surface area for muscle attachment, supports movement and provides protection from the environment.
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  • What Is a Slug's Habitat?

    Q: What Is a Slug's Habitat?

    A: According to the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University, slugs prefer to live in damp, cool conditions. Slugs are found around the world and are hardy enough to live in most climates as long as they have moisture.
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  • How Do Snail Shells Grow?

    Q: How Do Snail Shells Grow?

    A: The protoconch, or first shell that a snail is born with, grows with the snail as the animal's mantle -- an organ that lines the shell -- releases new shell material that expands the shell before hardening. This shell the snail was born with becomes the center of the spiral.
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  • Q: Do Slugs Have Eyes?

    A: Slugs, like other gastropods, do have a pair of eyes. These eyes are situated on the outer edge of a slug's tentacles, which are otherwise known as feelers.
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  • Q: How Do Water Snails Breathe?

    A: Ocean snails breathe using gills while freshwater snails breathe using lungs. Ocean snails can have one or two gills, and the gills allow the snails to remain completely submerged all the time. Freshwater snails have something that resembles a lung but is actually a pulmonary cavity, and these snails may surface for air or, depending on the type of snail, remain submerged all of the time.
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  • Q: How Do You Care for Apple Snails?

    A: Care for an apple snail by buying the right tank size, using hard water, maintaining the tank environment, feeding the snail properly and keeping the water clean. You need a tank, hard water, cuttlebone and kale.
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  • Q: Are Slugs Poisonous to Dogs?

    A: Slugs are not dangerous for dogs to eat under most circumstances. However, when slugs have been exposed to a poison bait, they become extremely dangerous. If a dog consumes poisoned slugs, then medical attention is needed immediately.
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  • Q: What Do Whelks Eat?

    A: Whelks typically eat hard-shelled prey. Their diet often consists of mussels and barnacles, but since they are scavengers, they will eat a variety of other prey.
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  • Do Snails Make Noises?

    Q: Do Snails Make Noises?

    A: Snails do not make noises when moving from place to place. However, powerful microphones can detect the sound of snails eating. Snails have tiny structures similar to teeth on a tongue that looks like a ribbon. To eat, snails rip their food into pieces.
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  • Q: How Long Do Snails Live?

    A: Snails in captivity can live up to 25 years, although an average of 10 to 15 years is more common, while those in the wild live between 2 and 7 years depending on the species. Snails in the wild are at risk from predators, especially humans who enjoy eating a variety of snails.
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  • Q: Can You Eat Slugs?

    A: Most fresh-water slugs are edible if they are thoroughly cooked to kill any parasites and bacteria they may carry, some of which are extremely harmful to humans. Slugs also feed on poisonous mushrooms and should be fed lettuce, bran or meal for a week to detoxify before being consumed.
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  • Q: What Is the Life Cycle of a Slug?

    A: In ideal environmental conditions, a slug may live up to six years; however, most slugs live two years. Most slugs start off as eggs, hatch into immature adults and develop into adults in just under a year, though there are a few species of slugs that have live births.
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  • Q: Where Do Slugs Go During the Day?

    A: As nocturnal mollusks, slugs tend to reside in dark places during the day, such as hedgerows, refuse or rotting logs and timber. Their habitats are very often close to areas of human presence, such as gardens or parks.
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  • Q: How Far Can a Snail Travel in One Minute?

    A: A snail can travel up to approximately 0.66 inches per minute. This speed was determined in a study published in 2012 by the University of Exeter in England.
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