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PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Snails move by gliding along on their muscular foot, which is lubricated with mucus. It also has a covering known as the epithelial cilia.

Their motion is caused be waves of muscular contractions that move the ventral part of the foot. Snails are very slow, they move at a speed of 1mm/s. Snails possesses mantle which is a specialized layer of tissue that covers all the internal organs of the visceral mass.

DIGESTIVE & NERVOUS ACTIVITIES

Snails break up their food using their radula in its mouth. The radula is chitinous in nature and contains a ribbon-like structure of rows of teeth. In a very quiet place a large snail can be heard crunching its food.

The cerebral ganglia of a snail make up the brain. The brain is further divided into four segments. They have a small brain compared to other animals. They can undergo associative learning.

GROWTH

The growth of its shell depends mainly on the presence of calcium carbonate available. The calcium carbonates are secreted by special glands located in the snail’s mantle. The spiral part of their shell was made when they were very young and the outer part was made when they grew older.

REPRODUCTION

A vast majority of them are hermaphrodites with organs of both sexes being able to produce spermatozoa and ova.  The age for sexual maturity varies in snails ranging from 12 weeks to 55 years.

Environmental conditions also affect sexual behaviors among them. The snails known as slugs which do not have shells undergo pathogenesis for sexual reproduction, although most of them can self-fertilise.

LIFESPAN

According to research land snails have an annual lifespan while other species are known to live for 2-3 years. Although there are some large species that live for over 10 years in the wild.

DIET

Snails that live in the terrestrial habitat are herbivorous, however some species are predatory carnivore or omnivores which include the largest carnivorous snails in the world found in New Zealand.

Food mainly consumed by those living in the land include leaves, soft bark, stems, vegetables, fruits, fungi and algaes. Some certain species damage agricultural produce and are therefore regarded to as pests.

PREDATORS

Snails take back their soft parts into their shell while resting while some bury themselves. Land snails have many predators, including thrushes, hedgehogs and pareas snakes.

Flatworm also attack the snail by stalking its eye causing them to become swollen and enlarged. Human activities also poses a great danger to the life of snails. Pollution and destruction has caused the extinction of several species in recent years