Snails are a member of the gastropod family (the same family the slugs belong to) that have coiled shells for protection. There are thousands of species of snails and they range in size from the very tiny to more than 35cm long. They are well known for traveling very slowly with a wave like movement of their “foot.” Most species of snails are nocturnal and are vegetarians, although some species are omnivorous or carnivorous. Most snails are edible and it is believed that they were widely eaten by many civilizations for centuries. Interestingly, the majority of snails in the world are marine snails.
Where do snails live?
Taking the broad definition of snails, to include marine and freshwater snails, they are considered to have a worldwide distribution. The only place that they are not known to live is the polar regions where it is too cold.
Snails live in a variety of different habitats, but, because they are slow moving, they generally live in areas where they find their food. Most land snails live in areas that contain leaves and other food items. They are considered a pest in some agricultural settings and a large group of snails can decimate a crop. Freshwater snails live in lakes and rivers and have an important role to play in the biodiversity of these environments. Marine snails live in all the oceans of the world and can be found in the intertidal areas and estuary systems through to the abyssal depths of the ocean.