Snails are generally categorized into 3 according to their habitat. They are the land snails, sea snails and fresh water snails.
Snails can live from a year till about twenty five years depending on their species and habitat.
There are thousands of snail species on the planet with each one different and unique from the other. Snails are intelligent creatures, slow paced and environmental friendly.
Snails belong to the mollusks which are under the class Gastropoda. They are shelled creatures with the shell serving as protection and house.
Snails are mostly hermaphrodites having both the male and female reproductive organs. They mate despite having both reproductive organs and lay eggs although some have been studied to reproduce asexually.
It is believed that land snails are as a result of the evolution of sea snails. The first snail was said to have lived about 550 million years on the seafloor and land snails about 286 million years ago with developed lungs to adapt to life on land.
Snail Species That Live In Water
The first snail that lived was believed to have been in water due to the evidence of its shell on the seafloor. Snails that has their habitat in water can have either lungs or gills, depending on what they need to survive and some snails have even both.
Some freshwater snails depend on their lungs to breathe instead of gills, this means that they would swim to the surface of the water to get the fresh air they need to survive and move back to continue living.
There are one unique class of snails that are known to use a siphon-looking device which allows them to get air from the surface of the water through a tube like feature.
Water giant snails similar to their giant land snails relatives in size though, can get up to one foot long and surprisingly can kill a starfish. They paralyze the starfish with their venom filled saliva using their sense of smell to locate them. Starfish is a delicacy to these giant snails.
The Apple Snail Species
The apple snail specie is one if the moat popularly sought after snail for a freshwater aquarium probably because they come in a wide variety of colours including blue, gold and tiger striped.
They however come with a caveat that you have a very large tank because they can grow up to 6 inches in length. The apple snail specie also eat plants so it is advised that the plants in your aquarium should be minimal.
Snail Species That Live On Land
Land snails are believed to have come into existence as a result of the evolution of sea snails. Land snails are the most common species of snails captured and reared for meat and other purposes.
Most land snails have smooth while there are some that have hairy shells such as those in humid regions. The hairy shell helps them to move around when in wet areas.
The Garden Snail Species
The garden snail (Helix aspersa), is very well known and is also referred to as the European Brown Garden snail. It is a common snail in Europe and other parts of the world, and a specie most farmers dread due to it’s love for crops and plants. They are seen as pests.
Garden snails are usually about 1.3 inches in length at maturity, soft bodied with yellow shells and brown stripes covered with mucus. Their shells are used for protection and even when the snail is not inside it.
Helix aspersa feed on trees, barks, flowers and even cereals. They are dangerous on crop plantations as they can be destructive.
The Giant African Land Snail Species
The Giant African Land snail is one of the world’s largest terrestrial gastropods growing up to 8 inches in length. The colour of their shells ranges from light brown to dark brown and dark brown vertical stripes.
GALs life span is about 5 years and some have been known to live up to 20 years. They are known to be able to consume over 400 different plant species making them a dreadful specie on farmlands.
Giant African Land snails are very tough as they do not give up easily. They have been able to adapt to habitats different from their natural habitat making them a specie not to be joked with.
The Mediterranean Green Snail Species
These snails are among the recent species coming into existence in the late 1970’s. They are about 5 inches in length, and are found majorly in the rainforests of North Africa as well as Australia.
The Mediterranean Green snails eats a wide range of plants which includes leafy vegetables, cereals etc.
The Orchid Snail Species
These snails are very small in size and the name orchid snails is gotten because of their love for destroying orchads and other greenhouses. They are blue coloured with reddish brown shells.
Orchid snails are about one third of an inch in length making them an easy specie to be overlooked.
They can live underneath a flower pot without stress.
The Roman Snail Species
The Roman snail species were originally native to Europe, but it is now they are dispersed all over the world. It is also referred to as the Burgundy snail and they have a beautiful shell accounting for about one-third of its total weight.
One unique feature differentiating them from other snails is that they have two pairs of tentacles on their head. These tentacles at the top hosts the snail’s eyes, while the ones at the bottom house the smell sensors.
The French dish escargot, uses the Roman snail which is about 2 inches in length. Their shell is cream to dark brown in colour.
Due to the adaptive nature, they can be found in many types of habitats, including bushes.
Snails can be found everywhere on earth because there exist more than 50,000 species of gastropods. They live in water bodies such as sea and fresh water, on land, forests and many other cool and wet regions.
Snail meat is healthy, tasty and highly nutritious. The snail slime aids the snail’s movement even on sharp edges. The snail slime is also used for medicinal and cosmetics purposes.