The Garden Snail
Although there are a variety of snails, just like in other living species, we are taking a look at the garden snail. It has some fantastic features, one of them being that the age of sexual maturity is variable from six weeks to five years. Its mating process is quite unique when compared to other animals.
Most Land Snails Are Hermaphrodites
Land snails, also known as gastropod mollusks, are hermaphrodites. This allows a single snail to have male and female reproductive organs. On most occasions, two individuals copulate rather than self-fertilize. They usually shoot some structures called “love darts” before their mating. The snails go through a type of courting ritual to attract mates. Their breeding can last from a couple of hours to half a day. Prior to mating, they expel some chemicals. This invites others who are ready to mate. They also use touch as a way of courting. Once they have finished mating, they each go their own way.
Many Eggs Are Produced
Following the mating process, each snail produces around 100 eggs. They are tiny, and they will be dropped into moist soil. They will then be covered. It takes up to four weeks for an egg to hatch. Many of the eggs do not hatch. Some of them are washed away by rain or water. Others are eaten by predators. Humans also take the eggs and serve them in certain parts of the world where it is known as “white caviar” or “snail caviar.”
The Baby Snail Grows To Adulthood
Once hatched, the baby snail grows quickly. However, due to predators, few of them live to reach one year of age. Through the years, their age is recorded by the rings it has. The land snail has a life span of two to seven years. If it is held in captivity, this extends the lifespan to 10 or 15 years. Occasionally they can live longer.
Interesting Facts About The Snail
Snails are the earliest known animals in the world. They have a spiral shell which is loaded on the back. Snails are the smallest animal on earth. A snail has a long muscle. This helps it to grip along a wall. Although it is not visible, it moves along on one foot. The slime it often leaves behind helps the snail to move with minimal friction. Even so, they are still the slowest creature living on the planet. The slime they leave behind is edible. However, it is most useful in treating stomach ulcers.
Other Interesting Facts
Snails cannot hear – they are deaf. They cannot see – they are blind. They do have a keen sense of smell. Perhaps the most surprising fact about a snail is that it has 14,000 teeth. Most garden snails have around 14,000 teeth, although this varies with the different species. Some snails have as many as 20,000 teeth. The snail has a tongue, which is referred to as radula. In radula, there are about 140 rows. Each row has 100-120 teeth. The teeth are very hard, which helps the snail to eat soil, fungi, and rotting leaves.
Just remember, our country, due to the coronavirus, may start moving at a snail’s pace.