Snail – definition, species, lifespan, and reproduction

The snail is a mollusk of the gastropod species, these little animals have a spiral-shaped shell; They usually live in various types of environment, being mostly in fresh or salt water, as well as on land. The snails move through a series of undulatory muscle contractions that travel the underside of the foot.

Even when they have a pond, the snails move like worms and slowly. These mollusks in their gait are producing a mucus or as it is popularly called a “slime” which helps them to walk in a more fluid way, since it reduces friction with the ground. In the same way, the shell serves to regulate the temperature of its body. This shell will grow as the snail develops, which is composed of calcium carbonate, therefore its diet must be abundant in this element, so that the shell grows healthy and strong.

It is estimated that there are more than 75 thousand species. Many of these animals hibernate during cold weather, covering their bodies with a thin layer of mucus that prevents them from drying out. Sometimes snails have the ability to hibernate in summer, in order to survive if they were to experience an acute drought; since they will be able to live on the fat accumulated during that time of year. This process has been one of the many reasons why these mollusks have survived for many millions of years.

The life expectancy of snails depends on their environment and the species; It is estimated that there are some that live for about 5 years; however in wild conditions, they are believed to live up to 25 years. Even though many researchers estimate that the lifespan of snails has been decreasing, this is due to the fact that man has destroyed their habitat and also due to pollution.

As for their reproduction, snails have both reproductive systems, that of males and females, which is why they are classified as hermaphrodites. Their sense of sight is poor, therefore they must be guided by the sense of smell to be able to get their food. They also do not have the ability to listen. Its diet is based on plants and bones, fruits, barks and fungi. It should not be given neither sugar nor salt, since they are not capable of processing them.