Snail vs. Slug

Snail vs. Slug

Snail and slug are types of mollusks that belong to the class Gastropoda. There are more than 60.000 species of snails and slugs they can be found all over the world. Some species are adapted to the life in the water, while others live on the solid ground. Both slugs and snails prefer shady, damp areas with warm climate. They produce great quantities of slimy mucus which prevents loss of moisture from the body and injuries from sharp objects in the soil. Both snails and slugs are classified as pests in many countries around the world because they feed on different parts of the plants and decrease yield of economically important types of fruit and vegetables. They also destroy ornamental plants in the garden. Snails and slugs share many common features, and only few differences:


Body of both snails and slugs consists of head with two pairs of tentacles and broad, muscular foot. Unlike the slugs, snails also have coiled shell on their back which serves as shelter.

Color of the Body

Most land snails are gray colored, but their shells can be white, brown, black or mottled. Slugs can be yellow, grey or black in color and their body is often covered with various dark markings.


Slugs can be 0.25 to 15 inches long, depending on the species, while snails can reach up to 10 inches in length.

Hiding Places

Both snails and slugs need to hide during the dry season to prevent loss of moisture from the body. Slugs can easily squeeze their body in tiny places such as loose bark on the trees or rocks and logs on the ground. Snails are permanently attached to their shells and they have much less options for hiding, so they usually find refuge within their own shell.

Part of Human Diet

Both snails and slugs can be used in human diet, but land snails are more popular and more frequently used. They are especially popular in France where they are used for the preparation of meal better known as escargot.

Part of Everyday Language

Snails and slugs move at the speed of 0.002 to 0.03 miles per hour. Even though both snails and slugs are slow-moving creatures, only the term "snail" is used to describe activities that last too long. For example, "snail mail" is sometimes used as synonym for mail sent via postal service, because unlike e-mail which is delivered in a matter of seconds, regular mail travels at least couple of days.


Slugs can survive 1 to 6 years in the wild, while snails can survive 2 to 3 years in the wild and 10 to 15 years in the captivity.

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