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Snails are very slow moving creatures and most people find them to be boring. However, there are some very interesting facts about them that can help you to see them in a new light. They aren’t brainless creatures as many people think.

Many species of Snails actually hibernate during the colder months of the year. They cover their bodies with a thin layer of mucus which prevents them from drying out. Sometimes Snails are also able to hibernate in the summer to survive if they are faced with a severe drought. They live off of the stored up fat during this time of year.

The life span for Snails depends on their habitat and the species. Some of them only live for about 5 years. However, others in the wild are believed to be at least 25 years old. Many researchers believe the life span of snails is decreasing due to humans destroying their habitat also due to pollution.

The largest Land Snail recorded weighed 900gms (2lbs) and was 38cm (15ins) long. It was discovered in 1976. Others are extremely small being only a few centimetres long when they are adults and weighing just a couple of ounces.

As Snails move they leave behind slime. This slime is like a powerful form of suction for them. This is why they are even able to move upside down, around corners, and other comical situations. It is a myth that this type of slime is going to make humans ill. Many people worry that Snails being in their garden will ruin the foods grown there and make them unfit for consumption but that is all false.

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Garden Snails are the fastest species and they can move about 50m (55yds) per hour. While they don’t move fast, they do move at a very steady pace. They are believed to be one of the slowest creatures though on the entire Earth.

If you watch their movements they take on strange routes. For example instead of moving in a straight line they will complete a circle pattern. It is this type of behaviour that has given them a stereotype as not being very intelligent. It isn’t really known why they do this though.

They have the reproductive organs of both males and females which categorizes them as hermaphrodites. However, the myth that they can create offspring on their own is false. They must mate with another and then both of them will have the ability to lay eggs.

Snails don’t see very well so they have to rely upon their good sense of smell to help them find their prey. They also aren’t able to hear.

They are nocturnal animals which means most of their movements take place at night.

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Most Snails range in size from 30cm (11.8ins) to 38cm (15ins) in length.

Snails don’t like the brightness of sunlight which is why you will find them out more on cloudy days. If you keep on in an aquarium you want to make sure that too much sunlight doesn’t filter into the room. This can cause the snail to stop eating and to spend most of its time inside of the shell.

Snails will die if they consume either salt or sugar. Make sure you don’t offer these types of items to them when you see them or when you have one in captivity because their bodies can process these items.

The Giant African Land Snail is known to eat more than 500 different types of plants.

Snails are very strong and can lift up to 10 times their own body weight in a vertical position.

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It is believed that there are at least 200,000 species of molluscs out there including Snails. Many of them haven’t been found and classified yet.

A Snail can crawl across a razor blade without getting injured. This is possible because they excrete a slime that protects them.

Desert Snails can stay in their shell for up to three years.

World’s largest Snail is the Australian Trumpet (Syrinx Aruanus), a sea species from the shores of the western Northern Territory and Western Australia which can grow up to 77.2cm (30ins) in shell length, while the flesh weighs up to 18kgs (40lbs).

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Cymbium Proboscidalis, from the shores of West Africa, grows up to 7-8kgs (15-17lbs) and the body is so large that the shell remains like a beanie. Brought on ground, the snail’s weight decreases to a quarter. Locals make from this snail a dish called tibuden, adding rice and fish. Some Sea Rabbits (which are Sea Snails lacking a shell) can be 30cm (11.8) long and weigh 6½kgs (14lbs).

The longest Snail is Parenteroxenos Doglieli, a parasite usually found in the body cavity of the Sea Cucumber.

The largest snail you could see in your garden is the Giant African Snail or Ghana Tiger Snail (Achatina achatina), which can be 30cm (12ins) long. Giant Apple Snail (Pomacea maculata) is the largest Freshwater Snail, with a shell 15cm (6ins) and weighing 680gms (1½lbs).

French researchers discovered that the digestive secretions of the Garden Snail are effective against stomach ulcer. 10mg (0.0003527oz) of this powder led to a decrease by 42 % of the human stomach acidity. The product was also effective against chronic bronchitis.

The Snails Littoraria Irrorata found on the eastern shores of U.S. are farmers. They bite the stems of sea grass to weaken them and then they fertilize the place with their feces. This way they cultivate the development of a fungus on which they feed.

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Garden Snails have up to 14,175 teeth. They are all located on their tongue (radula).

Most ground Snails are harmless but the marine species can be top predators of the sea. They are armed with a harpoon like weapon (named toxoglossan radula, a modified ‘tongue’) injecting a deadly venom into their victims. This way in a fraction of a second they can catch fish for dinner. Some of these venoms are the most potent on the planet, like in the case of the predatory marine snail Conus Magus, from coral reefs.

They can grow up to 23cm (9ins) in length and eat from marine worms, small fish, molluscs (clams and other marine snails, including other cone snails). Its poison has a greater power than morphine, however it acts in an entirely different way. Some Cone Snails can kill a human being with their venom. Their venom impairs a particular type known as N-type calcium channels, crucial in determining some kinds of pain sensations. A pharmaceutical company has developed synthetic chemicals that also inhibit N-type calcium channels, decreasing pain. These new drugs could be employed to shut off persistent acute pain where other painkillers have not succeeded or are not recommended, like in the case of patients with cancer or other very severe conditions.

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Snail slime was found by American researchers to be an excellent scaring factor. Snail slime is also used in some beauty products.

In some areas, like New Guinea, the shells of Sea Snails were used for long time as currency!

Some Sea Snails produce sulphuric acid which they use for dissolving the shells of the clams on which they feed.

The Kauri Snail is carnivorous and cannibalistic. Its diet consists of earthworms, insects, insect larvae, and Snails.

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Source: several sites on the net.



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