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Popularly known for being slow, one might not want to think about the uniqueness of snails due to the fact that it is known for being slow.
We are going to be discussing about one distinct behaviors known as “Sleep”. As humans we don’t normally think about other animals observing sleep due to the fact that many of them sleep at the same time as humans but it a whole different and complex process in snails.
Snails are now found in home aquariums. Although they may have a different structure as to fish but it has been scientifically proven that they are the best Algae eaters found in the world. With more popularity being given to snails, more people still find it hard to understand why they consume much time sat still.
In this article we are going to explain how, why and when snails sleep, even considering their great hibernation habits. Some explanations are going to blow your minds.
AN OVERVIEW OF HOW SNAIL SLEEPS
Sleep is an essential part of our lives. It varies drastically between animals and snails with both having a unique system. Snails are popular for being one of the slowest creatures in the animal kingdom, even while they are active they still stay in a single position most of the time.
If a freshwater snail is kept at home, one would notice prolonged periods of inactivity. Some people even think the snails are dead but they are most probably sleeping. The way they sleep is not as easy as sleeping at night and being active in the day like most of us do.
Sleeping accompanies a big risk because while we’re unconscious and completely vulnerable. This is a major problem for wild animals that need to worry about the nearby predators.
Fish self-regulate their sleep and this make them stay alert so they can react faster if there is any predator nearby. Snails doesn’t have this feature because they move slowly but rather they have a protective shell which serve as a source of protection until they wake up.
HOW DO SNAILS SLEEP?
Snails sleep almost everywhere. They possess a sticky mucus which allows them to climb over all surfaces in the tank. This mucus functions to help hold them in place while they sleep.
This mucus is responsible for the ability of snails to be able to sleep in any position either sideways or even upside down. They carry their homes on their back for protection and this allows them to stop in any location and sleep.
Much of their sleep take place in the daytime. Snails are very active at night because they always try to avoid the intensity of sunlight.
HOW LONG DO SNAILS SLEEP?
“ Instead of a normal sleeping cycle of 24 hours, snails sleep cycle lasts for about 2-3 days “
Study shows that snails undergoes seven stages while sleeping for over 13 hours. After these stages they then become active for a period of 30 hours.
Once a snail loses sleep due to one reason or the other, they would still be able to carry out normal activities until their next set of seven stages occur again.
Snails also use hibernation to get a lot of sleep. Funny enough this hibernation could last up to 3 years or more. Hibernation is a very common process in mammals.
It is usually used by animals to help survive when there is low temperature or scarcity of foods. It functions by reducing metabolic activities thereby saving energy since there is shortage of foods.
Hibernation is when the body temperature is lowered, breathing is slowed and heart rate decreases. Freshwater snails hibernate by that process, thereby entering a very deep sleep during the winter period until the water temperature becomes favorable again.
Snails do not hibernate in aquariums because the temperature is generally constant.