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Facts about Snails

Snails and Slugs

Facts about Snails

Snails are quite unique and many gardeners ask us for the most interesting facts about snails. Snails belong to the mollusk phylum. These animals are similar to slugs in their biology and behavior. The most notable difference is the snail’s external spiral shell. Snails move by using a large muscular foot located on the underside of their body. This foot secretes a mucous that leaves behind a visible silvery trail. The brown garden snail, located on the west coast, was introduced by the French as a delicacy.

Other interesting facts about snails include their reproductive nature. Snails are hermaphroditic. This means that they can both lay and fertilize eggs. Snails can lay up to 80 eggs, six times a year. Snail eggs are round and pearly white. A snail is born with a small translucent shell. The baby snail requires calcium to harden its shell. To obtain this calcium, the baby snail immediately eats its egg casing after birth. Snails require about 2 years to mature. Snails use their shell as a source of shelter and protection.

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Snails can cause significant damage in a garden. Their diet consists of herbaceous plants, including beans, cabbage, lettuce, and strawberries. Snails are also known to eat the bark off of fruit trees, specifically from citrus trees. Snails also chew many kinds of flowers. Snail damage is most often seen as irregular holes in leaves. However, earwigs and other insects can also leave these marks. To rule out other insects, look for the silvery trails that are left behind by snails. Slugs also leave this silvery trail, so to rule out slugs you may have to actually see the snail. Snails are most visible in the evening, after the heat of the day has passed.

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By Kenith Oneal

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