Snail – Facts, Scientific Details, Pictures & More

Snail is one of the most delicate, colourful animal that grab the attention of every human. From kids to adults, all are seems to be surprised by the delicate nature of snail and their slow-motion life.

Practically they can be found everywhere across the globe, from rocky mountains to the deep forest and in dry desserts. With ability to survice in extreme weather, this delicate animal keeps scientist curious.

In this article we have covered the all the details regarding the snails that can help you understand the snails better.

Snail

Snail Scientific Details & Facts

Common Name Snail
Scientific Name Achatinoidea
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Mollusca
Class Gastropoda
Order Achatinoidea
Habitat Diverse Habitat [from grassy, well-vegetated areas to dessert]
Diet Herbivore
Location Wordwide
Weight 0.01kg to 18kg   (0.02lbs – 40lbs)
Length 0.5cm – 80cm (0.2in – 32in)
Unique Features
Live in slow motion, Use mucus to avoid drying out, Have tentacles
Colour Diversified colour pattern

Snails belongs to the mollusca phylum and also called as a “Mollusks”. The class Gastropoda is dominated by snails and slugs and almost 80 pecent of mollusks are snails.

The distincitve features of animals that belongs to Gastropoda class is that they can be found worldwide. You can found snails in dsserts, deep forests, oceans and even at equatorial regions.

Some species of snails can live in water while most of them live on land.

Land snails are most widely distributed animals and can be found in five continents as well as sub-antratic regions.

Snails ability to live in diverse habitat is fascinating. Though they are delicate creatures, the shell on back provides them protection from predators, dehydration and mechanical damage.

Apart from physical protection, shell also provideds the surface for muscles attachment. Gastropod that does not have shell is named as slug or sea slug.

Snail’s shell is made up of calcium carbonate, has several layers and coiled look. It is large enough for snail to retract itself inside the shell.

At birth, each snail has visceral hump and as snail grows this hump turns along its lineal axis which result into creation of coiled shell on back. When snail’s are young, shell remains transparant but as it age it start to become thick. Glands on the body of snail helps to solidify the shell using calicum carbonate.

Snail cannot live without it’s shell because shell provides protection and surface for muscle attachment. Basically, shell is glued to the snail’s body and can’t be removed.

Types of Snails

Snails can be found in more than 43,000 species which categorised in to three major groups as follows:

  1. Land snails
  2. Sea snails
  3. Fresh water snails

It is believed that the snails came into existance around 550 million years ago in the sea and evolved to live on land aroud 286 million years ago.

They developed lungs to breath in environmental air when they evolved to live on land.

Though the snails are categorised in three major groups, they can be found in several typs.

Here are the most popular types of snails –

  • Garden snail
  • Apple snail
  • Roman snail
  • Giant african land snail
  • Orchid snail
  • Mediterranean green snail

1. Garden Snail

Garden snail

Garden snail is one of the most common type of snail that majorly found in Europe and other parts of world. In Europe it is known as “European Brown Garden Snail” and has scientific name as Helix Aspersa.

As common name suggests, they can be found in garden and farms munching on plants, flowers, vegetables, bark of trees and cereals.

Like other snails, garden snail has soft body, can grow upto 1.3 inches and has a shell with brown spiral stripes on yellow or creamy background.

Can I keep a garden snail as a pet?

You can keep garden snail as pet if your state goverment legally allows you to do so. Garden snails falls in the small pet category and you can keep them in a container ensuring they get enough food, calcium, air and water. Before you pet them, learn the basics about snail and educate yourself about how they grow, what they eat and how to take care of them in captivity.

2. Apple Snail

Apple Snail Laying Eggs
Source – wikimedia commons [via -Jpatokal]
Mostly popular among the pet parents to keep in freshwater aquarium, apple snail is a peaceful, calm, easy-going pet with low-maintenance.

Scientific name of apple snail is Pomacea canaliculata and usually found in large size, upto 10 cm in length. Usually, they have greenish-brown shell with spiral banding.

They are widely distributed in freshwater ponds, lakes and other freshwater reservoirs. These snails stay underwater during the day and become active during night. They thrive on the water plants and can be a serious threat to the wetlands since it can destruct the aquatic vegetation.

Apple snail is the family of approximately 150 freshwater snail species.

Though these snails are native to Amazon river, they can now found around several parts of world.

Apples snails has large shell which can have 6 inch diameter in a full grown snail. Apple snail shell has an operculum, a nail shaped organ that covers the opening of shell when snail retracts inside.

Since apple snails are domesticated and kept as pets, you can found them being sold in pet stores. If you decide to keep them as a pet make sure you have large tank and aquaarium plants so that they can roam around and feed on the plants.

In aquarium, apple snails can do well between the temperature range of 65 to 82 degree Fahrenheit. Generally they live up to 36 months depending upon the care and aquarium condition.

3. Roman Snail

Roman Snail

Roman snails are apread across the world but they are native to Europe and commonly known as Escargot or burgundy snail.

Roman snail is a type of land snail and is large in size and edible since prehistoric era. It has brownish shell that weighs 1/3rd of snail’s weight.

Romain snail is cream-white in color and 1 to 2 inches long.

Roman snail has two pair of tentacles on their head out of which top tentacles has eye while the bottom pair serve as smell sensors.

4. Giant African Land Snail

Giant African Land Snail

As name suggests, giant African land snail is one of the largest snail species found on the earth and can grow around the 20 cm in length and 2 to 3 inch in height.

Once native to Africa, this snail species now can be find almost across the globe except the Antrantica.

It is a voracious eater and can damage the corps on large extend, therefore farmers often term it as an invasive species of snail. Giant African snail is a herbivore in nature and loves to eat the fruits, plant parts and vegetables.

Sometime, they are found eating the sand, eggshells and tiny stones to fulfill their calcium need. It has a tough shell made up of calcium and is brown in color.

5. Orchid Snails

Dark gray-ish-blue in color, this snail mostly found around the orchid stem hence named as orchid snail.

It also know as Zonitoides arboreus and is a invader snail species native to north America. It is a small in size and has yello-brown to pale horn-colored shell.

They usually found under the litter in garden, around the orchid plants, and greenhouse. When they invade these places, they often cause damage to plants hence in most of places they are termed as pest snails.

6. Mediterranean Green Snail

This species of snail has scientific name as “Cantareus apertus” and commonly know as the garden snail or green garden snail.

It is a herbivore snail species that feed on grass, leafy vegetables and plant parts. Like few other snail species, this snail is considered as invasive species in America and can damage the corps.

Mostly found in the rainforest, it is native to Africa and Europe but can be found on other parts of the globe.

Did you know? – Malcology is a branch of science that deal with the study of Snails (Mollusca) and the scientist studying the mollusc are known as malcologists.