Snails prefer to live in dark places with plenty of moisture. It is common to find snails living along the edges of ponds as well as in marshes, gardens, and flower pots. Because they are slow movers, snails typically prefer to stay within a small area. Rather than moving to a new area themselves, it is more likely that they will be dispersed by a disturbance in their environment such as flooding.
If you have encountered a snail before, you have probably noticed a shiny trail of slime left behind by the snail. This is mucus. Snails produce mucus in order to move. Snails will adjust the amount of mucus they produce based on the surface it is traveling on. For example, if a snail is moving along a smooth surface, it won’t need much mucus. If a snail is moving across a rough, coarse surface, the snail will create a thicker layer of mucus in order to protect itself. Mucus also helps insulate the snail’s body and acts as a protective layer against dirt and germs.
The majority of snails are herbivorous, preferring to feed on plants, algae, and fungi. When it comes to plants, snails are not picky. They will eat leaves, stems, bark and fruits. As a result, snails can be a real nuisance for gardeners. Snails also have to feed on food that include calcium in order to maintain the strength of their shell. They can get this from sources such as calcium rich soil, the shells of dead snails, and limestone.
Snails are most active when foraging for food or looking for mates. They are most active at night, but it is not unusual to see them out in the day during rainy or humid weather. However, if conditions become too dry, snails will retract into their shells and use their mucus to create a seal in order to hold in moisture. Many snails will do this in the winter as well.
Snails start reproducing in the early summer. Snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. This means that it is possible for every snail to lay eggs. Snails will lay their eggs within moist soil or under damp leaf litter. It typically takes the eggs about two to four weeks to hatch and takes about two to three years
Several types of snails are carriers of parasites and diseases which can be transmitted to humans and animals. Parasites and diseases are transmitted through being in contact with the body of the snail or its mucus. One potentially fatal disease that can be transmitted by snails is eosinophilic meningitis. If you are going to be handling snails, you should always wear protective gloves in order to protect yourself from contracting a parasite or disease. If you have children, you should teach them to never handle snails.
While a snail here or there may not seem like much of a problem, snail populations can get out of control quickly. It can be challenging to to get rid of snails as they can be difficult to find. To prevent an infestation from happening in the first place, you should eliminate as many snail hiding places as possible.
If you see snails, or signs of them in your lawn or garden, you should call an Aptive professional to help with removal and control. An Aptive professional will be able to locate any well hidden infestation sources.