15 Slimy Snail Facts to Bring You Out of Your Shell!
These snail facts are super sci-fi! Learn all about snails and their out of this world lives with these 15 slimy snail facts you won't believe!
Snails are some of the strangest and coolest animals out there! For something you can easily find in your garden, they have the craziest lives! We've compiled some super slimy facts all about these great gastropods just for your enjoyment! Find out where they live, how we use them and the really weird place they have teeth! And if you liked this, we've got more animal facts here, including these odd octopus facts, these super swan facts, and even these amazing mako shark facts!
1. They Are Basically Slugs With Shells
Yup, that's right - there is no difference between slugs and snails except that snails have shells...wonder if slugs get jealous? Or maybe they're glad they don't have to carry it around!
2.They've Been Used in Medicine For A Long Time
Snails have been considered to have health properties for thousands of years - the ancient Greeks and Romans believed that eating them could cure all sorts of things! Today, their mucus is used in both medicine and skincare! Would you want snail slime on your face?
3. You Get Giant Snails
The biggest known snail species is the giant African land snail, which can grow big enough to fit in your whole hand! Imagine how much slime they produce!
4. They Are A Delicacy In Some Places
Snails are a well known delicacy in places like France, where they are often cooked with butter and garlic, but they are also eaten in Greece, North Africa and India. They are also known to have been eaten during times in history when other food was scare. Would you eat a snail?
5. They Are Invertebrates
Invertebrate means an animal without a backbone (As in, a literal backbone, we don't mean they're cowards!) and snails don't have any bones at all!
6. And They Are Gastropods
Snails are gastropods, which is a family of animals that also includes slugs, and have been around for millions of years! They generally tend to have a shell, a muscular foot and organs hidden in the shell.
7. They Are From the Mollusc Family
Gastropods are part of a larger family called molluscs. These include lots of underwater shellfish like clams, oysters, mussels, octopus and squid!
8. You Get Underwater Snails
Snails don't just live on land! You also get sea snails, who live on the ocean floor and are also sometimes known as whelks. There are lots and lots of different types of sea snail!
9. Snails Have Been Depicted in Art for 100s of Years
For some reason, snails are found depicted in lots of medieval art, especially marginalia (the drawings surrounding text in books), often fighting knights or doing other strange things! There are lots of different theories about what they might represent, including death, the poor, enemies and all sorts of other things!
10. You Can Have Snails As Pets
Yes, you can have your very own snail! Some people keep African land snails, but you can also keep a common or garden snail as long as you give it the right environment and care!
11. They Can Be TINY
Snails can be huge but they can also be teeny weeny! Some of the smallest snails found have been able to fit through the eye of a needle!
12. There Are Lots of Myths and Folklore About Them
Lots of different cultures have theories and folklore about snails. Some people think that the idea of cupids arrow came from snails 'love darts', a part of the snail used in reproduction. The Aztecs considered snails sacred, whilst the ancient Greeks thought they represented fertility. In Christian Europe, the snail was a symbol of laziness, and in Japan, they were the gods of water.
13. They Eat Loads of Different Things
Snails eat all sorts of things including insects, worms, fungi, lichen, foliage and sometimes other, smaller snails!
14. They Can Self Fertilise
Snails are hermaphrodites, which means they have all the reproductive parts they need to make more snails, without even needing another snail!
15. They Have Teeth on Their Tongues
Yes, you read that right! Snails have something called a radula, which is a tongue like organ covered in tiny little spines. These spines act a bit like teeth and break the snails food down into manageable chunks!