Snail Activities

Snail Locomotion

Snail Locomotion
Snail Locomotion

Here is the first fun snail activity that will teach you all about how snails get around.

Slow-moving snails are great for studying animal motion. If you find a snail in your garden and turn it over, you'll see that it uses a large, muscular foot to crawl along. But how does this boneless creature get around on one foot?

What You'll Need:

Sheet of clear plastic or acrylic

Books or a brick

Garden snails

Acrylic paint

Small paintbrush


Pen or pencil

Get a pane of clear plastic or acrylic. Prop one end of the plastic on books or a brick. Position it so that you can look up through the glass from underneath. Now you have a transparent runway for watching snails.

Gather a few snails from the garden. Mark each snail with a small dot of acrylic paint on the shell. Use a different color for each snail to tell them apart. Wet the glass runway and place a snail in the middle.

Once it begins moving, watch from underneath. The foot can grip the glass while rippling muscles move it forward. The slime layer lubricates the surface so the foot doesn't get injured.

Now put several marked snails in the middle of the glass. Line them up so they face the same direction. Draw their positions in your notebook at the start.

Draw their new positions every five minutes. Do the snails move at random, or do you detect patterns in their motion?

If you don't have land snails in your area, try a similar experiment with aquarium snails. Mark some snails with paint, then put them back in the aquarium. Watch them crawl up the sides of the glass and note whether they move in a pattern. If you let algae grow on the sides of the aquarium, snails will leave trails as they eat the algae.

If you'd like to make a home for your new snail friends, go to the next page to learn how to create a snail shelter.

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