Where do snails come from?
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Q:

Where do snails come from?

A:

Quick Answer

Fossil evidence dating back 550 million years identifies snail-like mollusks inhabiting the sea floor. Several million years later, snails adapted to land, breathing with lungs rather than gills. Snails now live in wide-ranging habitats from deserts to tropical climates, at sea level and in mountainous regions.

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Full Answer

Related to other shell creatures such as clams and mussels, snails also claim squid and octopus as relatives. Slugs are snails without a protective shell. Land and sea snails rank second as the most plentiful species, following insects. Garden snails damage plants by chewing leaves, low-lying fruits such as berries and tomatoes and tree bark. Land snails encounter many predators, including rats, birds, frogs, beetles, ants and humans.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why do snails move so slowly?

    A:

    Snails move slowly because, as gastropods, their only method of locomotion is to use their powerful stomach muscles as a kind of foot by flexing and releasing tension in said muscles. This process is reliable but makes the snail a very slow insect without any agility or ability to maneuver quickly, weaknesses offset by their durable shells, which they use for protection.

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  • Q:

    Do snails have teeth?

    A:

    Snails do not have teeth like humans or mammals. Instead, like most mollusks, snails have radulas, which look like tongues in the snail's mouth. The radulas have tiny teeth on them, used for gripping and grinding food. A radula's appearance is often used by scientists to identify and classify snails.

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  • Q:

    What do snails eat?

    A:

    Snails consist of thousands of different species and consume a wide variety of different diets, although most land snails are herbivorous. For example, the common garden snail consumes cultivated plants, including citrus, while the geography cone snail is a predator of fish. Some snails even prey upon other snails.

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  • Q:

    How do snails breathe?

    A:

    Snails can be divided into two categories when discussing manners of breathing: those with lungs and those with gills. Pulmonate (lung) snails assimilate oxygen through the thin wall ("lung") of their mantel cavity. Other snails breathe using gills.

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