Facts & Terminology

** Fact: The largest snail recorded weighed 2 pounds and was 15 inches in length (BioExpediation).



 The anatomy of a snail includes many different organs that have several different functions.

Reproductive Organs: Oviduct, Dart Sac, Penis, Vagina, Genital Pore, and the Vas Deferens

Digestion Organs:  Mouth, Crop, Salivary Duct, Anus, Stomach, Kidney and Liver

Respiratory Organs: Lung and Respiratory Pore (Pneumostome)

Sensory Organs: Tentacles, Eyes and Cerebral Ganglia

Other: Mantle and shell


** Fact: Snails are considered one of the slowest animals on earth ( BioExpedition).



The shell of the snail is located on the outside of the body as shown in the anatomy photo.

The diagram above shows the different parts of the shell which are mentioned throughout this web page.

Aperture: the opening of the shell

Whorl: a single layer of the spiraled shell

Outer lip: the outer part of the opening

Apex: smallest of the whorls

** Fact: Snails hibernate in the winter by covering their bodies with a thin layer of mucus to stay moist (BioExpedition).

There are many different shapes of snail shells. Patera perigrapta has a shell which is known to be a depressed helicid shaped shell.


  Oblong                                Globose shaped shell                                Depressed shaped shell


Oblong shell: height is much greater than the width

Globose Shell: height and width have are equal in size

Depressed shell: height is much smaller than the width

** Fact: some snails in the wild can live up to 25 years of age! (BioExpedition).


Torsion:  Torsion, which occurs in all of the Gastropods, is the 180-degree twisting of the inner body organs (Gillis, 2012). As seen in the image below, the mantle cavity twists itself from being at the back end of the snail until it is above the head of the snail. This reduces the number of openings into the snail’s shell.



** Fact: The snail's slime acts to provide suction strong enough to allow snails to crawl upside down or up sides of walls (BioExpedition).



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