2A snail’s life. All snails begin like this. They begin as eggs . When they hatch out they are soft but even then they have a soft shell that hardens quickly.
3BURIED EGGS.You can see three small balls we think they are snail eggs.
4Weird but trueEvery adult snail can lay eggs. Snails are hermaphrodites .The snail lays about eggs in a nest, about 3cm. deep in the soil.They hatch out in about 3 weeks.The temperature must be about 12°C for eggs to hatch.
6Life for one year.The tiny snail has a soft shell at first then it hardensIt just eats and eats for the next year. The shell gets thicker.They hibernate in winter and in dry weather.They eat mostly at night and love damp warm weather.
7Who has been eating my flowers? Snails are plant eaters only.
8Different sizes.We found these five different size shells in our gardens.They range from a few months to 3years.
9Length It is hard to measure an adult snail . On average it is about 70mm. long.Baby snails are about 5 mm. long .
10An adult snail This is an adult garden snail. It can live for up to five years .The best time to find them is May to September.It takes one year for a snail to get to adult size.The proper name for a snail is HELIX ASPERSA.It is a gastropod which, in latin, means belly foot.
11How to recognise an adult.? An adult snail at about one year old begins to grow a lip at the base of the shell.It looks like a soldier’s helmet.Shells have an inner layer.
12Four hornsThe top two are eyes. They are about a centimetre long. If you touch an eye it can pull it in instantly.The bottom two are shorter and always close to the ground. It can sense vibrations and smell with them.
13THE EYE (x10)The eyes are on the tops of its horns. We don’t know how good their eyesight is but they always know the difference between light and shade .
14Retractable Eye A snail can pull in its eye at any time. One or both together.This protects the eye and can keep the pupil moist.It has no eye lash or eye lid.It can also retract its lower feelers.It also makes it easier to squeeze into its shell.
15Social Creatures Snails are social creatures. They don’t mind climbing on top of each other.You will very seldom find them alone .They will always share their space with each other.
16Great petsSnails are not afraid of people. They will nest quite happily in children’s hands.Sammy is Niamh’s pet.
17The shell. The snail says alas! The snail says alack! Why must I carry my house on my back?Good question!
18Two ReasonsIts biggest fear is that its body will dry out in the sun and wind.It needs liquid for the slime.It can’t run away quickly from its enemies so it needs a place to hide instantly if it is in danger of being attacked.
19How does the shell grow?The snail makes its shell bigger by adding layer after layer of new shell at the opening of the shell.The ridges are like the rings on trees.Its like a slinkey where each ring is slighty bigger than the last.You can see the layers here.
20A shady place.Snails hide in places like this during the bright days. They can stay this way for more than a week in the shade if the weather is too warm and dry.They don’t have to eat every day.Wet nights are heaven for them.
21Day or night?How does a snail inside a shell know if it is day or night?This is what it is like inside a shell in sunlight.We shone a light though the shell in a microscope.
23Snowy mountain.This is not a snowy mountain. This is a close up of an old snail shell.The shell has been bleached by the sun and the white colour shows what it is made of.(calcium)
24Regular Whorls.Of all the shells we tested we found that each whorl is roughly three times wider than the last one in adults.If you draw a diagonal line from the centre to the lip you will nearly always get 2mm. 6mm.18mm. for the outside three whorls.
25Snail graveyardThis is an old slate leaning up against the south facing wall of a flower garden .All these snail shells are empty. They may have died during the cold weather of winter or maybe of old age.This slate has been here for at least 20 years.
26Eventually Shells will lose their stickiness and fall to the ground. Sometimes snails eat bits of these old snail shellsHens do the same thing with egg shells.
27How heavy is a shell.A snail shell may feel light to you but if you were a snail your shell would be about25%-30% of your total weight.
29Shell volumesWe crushed the shells We measured their volumes like this.6.c.c c.c.
30Light but strongThis shell was able to hold up a 6.5 kg sledge when placed on top of the shell.But if you place the shell on its side and place even half that weight on it it will crush easily.
31On its sideThis is what happened when we placed the shell on its side we put 1.8kg hatchet on the edge.It crushed easily.The birds still find it hard to crush the shell.
32Central pillarThis pillar from top to bottom is what gives the shell its strength.It is not half as strong from side to side.This is what allows the bird to break the shell.
33The Anvil. They have learned a trick. They use a stone to bash the shell against.It has a sharp edge which makes it easier to break the shell.Even so we have found only the remains of small shells there.
34How a snail comes out ? They don’t screw out or in. They just fold out and in.The top third of the snail is like a camel’s hump but it is stuck to the top spirals of the shell.It is never exposed.If you find an empty shell its owner is dead.
35Emerging Snail This is how a snail looks just before it emerges. It can be very hard to get them to come out, but, if you dip the base in water they will come out shortly.
36Wakey! Wakey!First two folded flaps come out and open.
37Is it safe to come out?Then the head appears from under the edge of the shell.You will only realise this when a little horn pops out.This is a quick peep.One eye first.
38Unfolding.Next comes the second eye.The bodyunfolds more.
39Almost Open Now he is ready to put out his tail. Once his tail is out the rest is easy.
40Finally out This is what he is like when he is out. You can just see his curved mouth.You can see how moist his body is.
41OUT FOR A WALKSnails are not stiff like sausages. They can stretch and bend and twist any way they want.They move more like an octopus than any other creature.
42Slime A snail can not live without slime. It needs it to smooth the path for itself.It also stops tiny creatures from taking a juicy bite.The slime hardens in contact to air.
43TrailsThey can follow their own trails back to their hiding places because the trails can last a long time.They can follow other trails to meet their friends.
44Sticky slimeOne day Sammy was exercising. He climbed up on a 20 gram weight.We lifted Sammy,the 20 grams came with it.Snails can stick to anything in any position.
45Super glueWhen the slime hardens after a few hours it is like super glueYou can see some hard slime in the middle of the picture
46Glue testIt took a force of 150 grams. (1.5 Newtons) To remove the shell from the wall.This did not harm the snailOne shell took 2 Newtons to remove
47Gluey RimThe snail was not harmed by this pull because the snail’s body is above the gluey rim
48How Snails BreatheSnails breathe through a hole in the bottom of their bodies.They need to breathe all the time even when they hibernate.We got this picture from a book. “SNAIL WATCH IT GROW”By Barrie Watts
49How fast can a snail move? This is not easy to find out because------They might not move when you want .They don’t go in a straight line.This is how we solved the problem
50Tracking the snailsWe kept a primrose leaf in front of them as bait to keep them moving .We placed them on a white sheet and follow their trail with a red pencilWe timed four snails for 5 minutes each
51Snail trail.We placed pipe cleaners on the red line and cut and bent them to follow the line.Then it was only a matter of straightening them out and measuring the straight length.
52Five minute walk = 7.5cm /minute = 4.5M. Per hour RESULTS Mr F cmS cmButtercup cmBubbles cm _________________Total cmAverage cm= cm /minute= M. Per hour
53How strong is a snail?Snails has no arms and only 1 foot. The only way we could think of testing its strength was to measure what it could pull.We started by making a harness for the snail shell.We attached a few grams to the end of the harness.Each cube is a gram.Sammy easily pulled 46 grams on his first day.
54Adding the grams In training we added a gram each time. We placed a black pipe cleaner directly behind the load.If a gap appeared it meant that he had pulled it.
56A horse of a snail. This is Sammy’s record pull. 80 grams He pulled 9 times his weight across a desk.He might even have pulled more.For its size a snail is much stronger than a horse.
57Press photograph After his record pull Sammy posed for the camera. We swear he even smiled.We put him back in the box for a nice well earned rest.
58Cart pullingA horse has a cart and can pull about one thousand kg plus a cartWe decided to put a cart on Sammy. We borrowed the infants’ tractor trailor.Gradually as he got used to it we increased the load.
59Spectators Everybody was very interested in what he could pull. After a week he was getting better and the loads were getting bigger.Here he is pulling110 grams in the trailer.
60Official Poster. This is Sammy’s official fan club poster. Here he is posing before his record breaking pull of
62Personal trainer This is Keith. He is Sammy’s trainer. He makes sure the harness is fitted safely and that Sammy is not harmed in any way.He was sure Sammy could pull a bigger load if there was no crowd watching. Keith tested him again in a quiet moment.
63A lettuce leaf is a great help With a lettuce leaf in front and his two friends cheering him on he breaks all records again!He pulled 246 grams.
64Stunt man Is there no end to Sammy’s talents? Here he is climbing over a kitchen devil knife for some lettuce.This was his last public appearance.Well, Sammy retired to a sunny wall garden.He doesn’t do interviews now.
65What happened to Sammy? He lives high above a juicy flower patch. He sleeps all day and eats and talks to his old friends at night.We often check on him but don’t disturb him.We always know where to find him .
66This was Connor’s idea.We hope he enjoys his retirement.