Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process

The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process
The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process

Have you ever thought about the snail reproduction process? I have often wondered how they get partners though. Snails are hermaphrodites yet they mate and both lay about 200 eggs meaning 2 snails will produce 400 eggs. That is just amazing!

Snails are interesting creatures, smart and environmental friendly. I know they are slow paced but they also move items that are about half of their total body weight.

Snails bear a striking resemblance to each other and their reproductive habits are also uncommon. The unique characteristics of snails reproductive process is also one of the keys to their survival through time.

The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process
The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process

Snails reproduce in large quantity and all things being equal, they can hatch about ninety per cent of their total eggs.

Snails are mostly hermaphrodites having both male and reproductive sexual organs. They can therefore produce both eggs and spermatozoa except for some species such as the apple snails and periwinkles.

Snails are a source of protein, healthy, tasty and highly nutritious with all 9 essential amino acids needed by the human body available in the right amount making it a better alternative to red meats.

The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process
The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process

The slimes and shells are also used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry. Shell craft is also the use of snail shells for various forms of decorations.

Snail farming business is a highly profitable agribusiness requiring less capital and bringing in more than a hundred percent of investment. Snail farmers can hatch their snail eggs without much ado, cater for new hatchlings and sell at their desired rates.

Snail feeds are relatively cheap and since snails are mostly herbivores, several plants, vegetables and riped fruits are their delight. Snails however do not like grasses. I think they deserve better too!

Snails are seasonal animals loving the rainy season than the dry season mostly going into hiding until the next rain. The snails mate and reproduce during the rainy season and are increased in number by the next rain. Let’s crawl and take a sneak peak at this process.

The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process
The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process

Snail Reproductive System

The reproductive system of snails end in an external opening located at the lower part of their body close to the head, called the genital pore. Just like in other animals and even man, snails also reach sexual maturity at different ages, depending on their species and other conditions.

Once the snails are sexually mature, their sex organs acquire all the necessary conditions to reproduce, but they can chose to mate much later. It’s their body after all, LOL.

Land snails reach maturity between 6 weeks and five years of age while some mature sooner or later if the conditions of their external environment and habitat are favourable or not to their development.

Snail Reproduction Process

Reproduction is uniquely done in snails even though there are similarities in the process just like in other animals such as seeking a mate, courtship and the mating process. There is also the fact that snails throw a love dart when they are about to mate.

The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process
Snail Love Dart

Snail mating season is right after the rain when everywhere is damp. The sexually matured snails seek out potential mates by following their slime. When snails mate, two penises enter two vaginas, and they exchange sperm. That is slimy!

Courtship In Snail Reproduction

Snails also court like every intending couple. When a snail reaches maturity, they need to start mating, but they need a mate, so how do they find a mate?

Snails begin their courtship by a series of movements and behaviours that will make them end up mating or maybe not; compatibility issues can arise, LOL.

The entire courting process can last for as short as 2 hours or as long as 12 hours. Snails rely on their sense of smell and touch to find a partner, noting the fact that they have a poor eyesight and are alao deaf. They also recognize chemicals in the air that communicate the receptivity of some other snail nearby.

The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process
Courting Giant African Land Snail

As the courtship commence, both land snails get closer, acknowledging each other and checking their compatibility. As they progress, they begin interacting in a more physical way and can touch each other with the help of their tentacles. Some snails move in circles and can bite the area of ​​the genital pore.

After all the display and physical awareness, some snail species use the ‘love dart’ which is a composition of chitin or calcium present in sexually matured snails and these love darts help them in selection.

When the tentacles touch, they shoot their love darts piercing each other’s skin so that they are united in body and of course in soul. LOL

The darts however can damage an internal organ, go through the body and come out on the other side. That, I will call a slimy love accident.

Mating In Snail Reproduction

Mating or copulation begins immediately after the shooting of the love darts. The sperms are then transfered through the penis in a reciprocal manner or unilateral, depending on the species.

The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process
The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process: Snails Caught In The Act

The eggs are fertilized and go through some form of development insise the snail until they are ready and safe enough to be delivered. The snails then lay their eggs in the dirt and bury them separately in a small hole dug in the top soil.

The snail eggs will take between two to four weeks to develop and once they hatch, they go right into survival mode due to their soft shells. The new snail hatchlings begin life by sourcing for calcium by mainly eating the leftover shells or even the eggs yet to be hatched.

Conclusion

The reproduction process of snails starts right from when the snails reach sexual maturity which is as early as 6 weeks of life depending on the specie. These animals are unique and so is the reproduction process.

When snails look out for mates, they use their sense of taste and smell. They wave their upper tentacles in the air; smelling and tapping their lower ones on the ground and tasting the trails of potential suitable mates.

The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process
The Slimy And Interesting Snail Reproduction Process

When these snails eventually find the right partner, together they embark on the journey of fruitfulness and making the world beautiful.

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