Whether you find snails slimy or fascinating, these snail facts for kids will help you learn more about the slow-moving critters. Are snails related to slugs? What do they eat? What eats them? (Hint: you might someday!) Here are the answers to all of the questions you never even knew you had about snails.
Snail Facts for Kids
Do you sit at home wondering about snails? Perhaps you would like to have one as a pet, or maybe you would just like to freak out your sister with a slimy snail. Read all of these snail facts for kids so you can impress your friends with your knowledge of gastropods.
As a part of the natural world, you can learn a lot about a snail by discovering some of its biology.
- Snails and slugs belong to a group of mollusks known as gastropods. Next time you see a snail, you can make your friends think you are smart by saying, "Wow! Look at that amazing gastropod!"
- Snails are also mollusks, which are a group of animals that have a hard shell. Other mollusks include clams, oysters and the octopus.
- Scientists have found snail fossils from millions of years ago. In fact, they are one of the oldest-known animal species in the world. By most estimates, snails have been around for more than 600 million years!
- While slugs and snails are both gastropods, they are not the same animal. Some people believe that slugs are just shell-less snails, but this is not true.
- Snails cannot hear. To find food, they use their sense of smell.
- Snails leave slime behind them as they travel. The slime protects them as they move.
- There is no way to tell whether a snail is a male or a female because they are both! Snails are hermaphrodites, which means they can lay eggs (female) and fertilize them too (male).
- Snails are largely nocturnal. They are most likely to come out at night or very early in the morning.
- Snails can live for 15 to 20 years, but that is probably good since it may take them that long to cross the yard.
- Snails are invertebrates, meaning that they don't have a backbone. Instead, they have their shell for protection.
- Snails are triploblastic protostomes. Their bodies are made up of three parts: a foot, a head, and a body.
Habitat and Food
Where do snails live, what do they eat, and what eats snails?
- Snails can live pretty much anywhere, although they are not fond of heat. When the weather is hot, snails burrow under the ground and wait until it is cool.
- There are both land snails and water snails.
- Snails prefer damp, dark environments.
- Snails eat plants, algae, chalk, limestone, and, sometimes, each other.
- Snails eat by gliding across a food surface. They have what is known as a radula in their mouths, which grinds up their food. A radula is like a tiny tongue with a whole bunch of sharp teeth coating it.
- Birds, frogs, and other small animals eat snails. Some people also like to eat snails, as well. Snails are a popular french delicacy known as escargot (pronounced ess-kar-GO). Don't eat raw snails, though because they can make you sick. If you plan to eat a snail, have someone follow a recipe and cook it correctly.
Snails are interesting creatures. Here are a few more facts:
- The largest snail ever found came from Sierra Leone in Africa. It weighed two pounds and was over 15 inches long.
- Snails hibernate in the winter.
- There are more snails on Earth than insects.
- The Romans raised snails for food.
With all of these fascinating snail facts, what will you do with your newfound knowledge? If you are out in the garden and you see a snail, take a closer look to see if you can learn even more about this amazing animal by observing it in action.