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The Snail is a gastropod, a soft-bodied type of mollusk that is basically a head with a flattened foot. The soft body is protected by a hard shell, which the snail retreats into when alarmed. These invertebrates (animals with no backbone) are found worldwide in the seas, in fresh water, and in moist areas on land.

Locomotion: Snails move by crawling, swimming, or floating with currents. Land snails crawl on the ground, creeping along on their large, flat foot; a special gland in the foot secretes mucus (a slimy fluid) that helps the snail move. The common garden snail is the slowest moving animal; it can travel about 0.03 mph (0.05 kph).

Anatomy: Snails range in size from 0.02 inch (less than a millimeter) long (Ammonicera rota) to over 30 inches (77 cm) long (the marine Australian Trumpet (Syrinx aruanus). The largest land snail is the Giant African Snail; it is over 15.5 inches (39 cm) long and weighs about 2 pounds (900 g).

Snails have two pairs of tentacles on the head. Land snails have a light-sensitive eyespot located on each of the larger tentacles; water-dwelling snail eyespots are at the base of the tentacles. The smaller pair of tentacles is used for the sense of smell and the sense of touch.

Diet: Most snails eat living and decaying plants, but some are scavengers and some are predators. They eat using a radula, a rough tongue-like organ that has thousands of tiny denticles (tooth-like protrusions).

Predators of the Snail: Many animals eat snails, including birds, fish, frogs, snakes, turtles, beetles (and other insects), and people.

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