Snails have soft bodies covered
with a hard shell. They have
tentacles [feelers] with eyes, a mouth with teeth, and a foot that moves
them forward in a wave motion. There
are lots of different kinds that can be tiny or up to two feet in length.
They eat algae and rotting stuff.
There are three kinds of snails: those living on land,
in fresh water, and in salt water. We
are doing the land ones. Land snails
are in forests and in deserts. They like damp, shady places to live.
Most of them live on the ground but some live in trees.
They are active at night but they do like cloudy days.
They donít like dryness or sunny days.
Snails are hibernators
When it gets warm and dry, they attach themselves to walls or trees
and pull into their shells. The
opening gets plugged with a sticky slime so that dampness stays inside.
The snailís body slows down and it stops eating.
This summer hibernation or, estivation,
saves the snail when it gets really hot and there isn't any water
In the fall,
snails will lay eggs in the ground, cover them up with dirt, and then go
off to find a safe place for the winter.
They eat lots of food to get ready for hibernation.
Snails can stay in their shells for about three months without
food. Their bodies slow down
[heart and breathing] and they donít eat.
When the body slows down, it doesnít need as much to live on, so
the stored food can last longer.
snails will come out of hibernation [or estivation] when the temperature
is right for them and water/rain are back.
The male will come out first. The
eggs hatch and the young snails sometimes climb up trees [tree snails].
for about eight years. Their
enemies are raccoons and armadillos that eat the eggs.
Fish and birds like to eat them, too.
Humans are also enemies because we spray their trees for
mosquitoes, they get it in their bodies, and it ends up killing them.
Humans also eat escargotósnails.
Some people also collect tree snail shells.
Back to Hibernation