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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Q: What is the lifespan of giant African land snails?

    A: The giant African land snail, also called the giant East African snail, usually lives for three to five years. However, some have been observed to have lived as long as nine years. These snails require a humid, tropical climate and a diet high in calcium to thrive.
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  • Q: How long do giant African snails live?

    A: The average giant African snail lives from 3 to 5 years, though some are known to survive as long as 9 years. Predators posing the biggest threat include the coconut crab, hermit crab, domesticated and wild birds, and wild pigs.
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  • Q: How do mollusks breathe?

    A: Aquatic mollusks, such as clams and octopi, typically breathe using gills inside their mantle cavity. Terrestrial mollusks, such as land snails and slugs, breathe using their mantle cavity as a lung.
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  • What's a group of snails called?

    Q: What's a group of snails called?

    A: A group of snails can be referred to as a rout, walk or escargatoire of snails. The word snail is used for thousands of animal species in the gastropod mollusk family.
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  • Q: Where do snail shells come from?

    A: Snail shells are formed when a snail continually feeds on calcium. A snail is born with a soft version of its shell that needs calcium to grow into the hardened form.
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  • Q: Is a snail a reptile?

    A: A snail classifies as a gastropoda, which is a member of the mollusk family. Mollusks are defined by having no backbone, soft bodies and hard shells to protect the body. Both water and land snails are in the mollusk family.
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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: What do slugs eat?

    A: Slugs eat leaves, flowers, vegetables, fruits and decaying matter. Slugs enjoy eating tender, young leaves. They can quickly demolish the contents of a vegetable or flower garden. Most slugs eat at night and are able to consume twice their body weight in food.
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  • Q: What do you feed a pet garden snail?

    A: Most garden snails are herbivores, so they eat plants like plant leaves, stems, bark, fruit, vegetables and fungi. These land snails are low on the food chain, so their diet helps break down vegetation in the wild.
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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: Do snails have legs?

    A: Snails do not have legs, but instead have one very large and very flat foot. Snails secrete a layer of mucus that they use to help them glide about.
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