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Monday, September 22, 2008

Snail - great sleeping time and other facts

A snail can sleep for 3 years, others even recorded that some snail species can sleep up to six (6) years.
  • Garden snails evolved from sea snails about 600 million years ago.
  • The largest land snail ever found was 15 inches long and weighed 2 pounds!
  • Snails' bodies produce a thick slime. Because of this slime, they can crawl across the edge of a razor and not get hurt.
  • Some snails have been known to live up to 15 years.
  • Snails are hermaphrodites which means that they have both male and female reproductive organs.
  • Snails usually travel in irregular paths, often traveling in a circle.
  • Snails reply mainly on their sense of touch and smell when finding food because they have very poor eyesight.
  • Snails cannot hear.
  • Snails can retract one or both of their tentacles at a time.
  • Because of the suction created by their slime, a snail can crawl upside down.
  • Snails are nocturnal animals which means they are more active at night.
  • Garden Snails mainly eat garden plants and vegetables, but they will also eat decaying plants and soil.
  • The fastest snails are the speckled garden snails which can move up to 55 yards per hour compared 23 inches per hour of most other land snails.
  • Garden snails hibernate during the winter and live on their stored fat.
  • Garden snails breathe with lungs.
  • The garden snail is cooked and eaten as a delicacy called escargot.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Molluska
Class: Gastropoda
Sublcass: Herterobranchia
Family: Stylomatophora
Genus: Helix aspersa

Generally speaking, snails don't sleep. They will become inactive for short periods at certain times, and will actually hibernate under some conditions. They hibernate in winter and estivate in the summer, dropping their heart rate from 56bpm to just three or four. This hibernation occurs during dry periods so that the snail can maintain the moisture within its shell.

There are thousands of species of snail (most of which are marine - not the land snails we are used to seeing). Which is what they do for most of the day- sleep. Because snails as members of the mollusk family, need moisture to keep their bodies going. The heat of the sun is very drying, so they usually don't come out until nighttime. This same behavior is followed by species that live in desert areas when there is a shortage of water. They will withdraw into their shells, and hibernate or sleep, for as much as 2-3 years, until conditions improve.
The eye is on the tip of the tentacle or at the base of the tentacle for marine species. The snail has two pairs of tentacles on its head. One pair is longer than the other pair. The eyes are on the longer pair. The shorter pair is used for smelling and feeling its way around. The tentacles are very important to the snail. A snail have something called a radula in its mouth for grinding up its food. This radula is like a rough tongue, something like a file with rows of tiny teeth which it uses to scrap off leaves and flowers to eat. Many people get upset and farmers get angry when snails eat their plants and crops. Snails can cause serious damage to crops. Snails eat mostly living plants as well as decaying plants. They also chew on fruits and young succulent plant barks. The largest known land snail named Gee Geronimo was a Giant African Snail collected in Sierra Leone in 1976. It weighed about 2lb (900g) and measured over 15 inches (39.3cm) from snout to tail. The snail is both male and female. Therefore, it can produce sperms and eggs at the same time ! Isn't that incredible ? However, to fertilize the eggs, the snails need to exchange sperms with each other. An animal which is both a male and a female is called a hermaphrodite. The brown garden snail lays about 80 spherical shaped white or yellowish colored eggs at a time into the topsoil of the ground. It can lay eggs up to six times a year. Snails take about 2 years to become adults. Some pond snails have gills to breathe in water. Those with gills will live at the bottom of the pond. Those that do not have gills, will come up to the surface to breathe. These snails will live on the surface so that they can come up to breathe easily.

The snail is one of the greatest works of geometry in nature. It consists of chalky material and one specific organic substance – CONHIOLIN – that is the basic substance for shell formation. Numerous shapes of shell help us easily differentiate between many species.


krishna kashyap av said...

Amazing facts.
I wish I was a snail.. :P..
Thanks for such wonderful
Make website india

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