Invertebrate Paleontology

How does a snail see, eat and lay eggs?
Answered by Animal Planet
  • Animal Planet

    Animal Planet

  1. It’s hard to picture a snail doing regular activities that other land and sea creatures can do; they appear to be just a foot, a shell and a slime trail. But all types of snails have eyes, even though you may not be able to see them, and they aren’t always in the same location. Land snails have eyes on the edge of the tentacles that jut out of their heads. In contrast, the sea snail’s eyes are at the base of its tentacles. Furthermore, a sea snail’s eyes stay in one place, but those of a land snail can move in a side-to-side and up-and-down motion. Land snails and sea snails also differ in how they breathe. The land snail breathes through the use of its lung, which is located in the mantle cavity. Sea snails use gills located in their mantle cavities to breathe.

    Virtually all snails are able to eat by using radulas, which are hard organs that resemble tiny tongues. Radulas have rows of teeth, which can number in the thousands, depending on the snail. As these teeth begin to wear away, new teeth come in to replace them. The snail doesn’t actually chew food. This type of mollusk instead uses its radulas to tear, grate and grind food. There are thousands of different species of snails and they eat a variety of foods. Some snails eat plants, others eat animals and some enjoy both. Snails can either be scavengers or parasites.

    Both land snails and sea snails lay eggs. The land snail lays its eggs inside a tiny hole it has dug up in the soil. Over a period of a few days, a land snail can lay up to 100 eggs, and it takes anywhere from two weeks to a month for the eggs to hatch. Most young snails, however, are killed by predators before they reach the age of one year. Meanwhile, sea snails lay their eggs at the bottom of the ocean floor. Some sea snails lay several thousand eggs within a period of a few days; however, just like with land snail eggs, most sea snail eggs are eaten by predators.

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