Q:

What is the life cycle of a snail?

A:

The life cycle of a snail starts with the young hatching, then progresses to the adolescent snail feeding and resting until it reach the age of reproduction, at which time the snail mates and lays eggs. Eggs are deposited in a nest below the soil.

The first part of the life cycle of a snail takes place in the wintertime, when it hatches from an egg located an inch below the surface of the ground. The young snail eats its shell and other snail eggs. The snail continues to feed and grow through the rest of the winter and the spring. As it grows, the shell does too, coiling outward.

During the summer, the snail rests above ground by climbing onto roads, fences and vegetation. The purpose is to lose as little water as possible during the hottest, driest times of the year. The snail continues in this feeding and resting pattern until it matures after a few years.

The snail's reproductive organs mature in the spring, but it does not start mating until the autumn rains. Because snails contain both male and female reproductive organs, they are hermaphrodites. Each snail fertilizes another snail's eggs and lays a clutch of eggs itself. The snail digs a shallow hole in the soil using its foot and lays up to 400 eggs a year in the winter. After two weeks the eggs hatch.

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