Slugs and also snails space generally identified by the existence of a huge exterior covering on the back of snails. Snails and also slugs space both gastropod mollusks, and also unlike many gastropods they space terrestrial i.e. Found on land.

You are watching: What is the difference between a slug and a snail

slug versus Snail comparison graph
SlugSnailIntroduction Distinguishing feature Kingdom Class Phyllum Order Shell Common size Common Life expectancy Antennae Eyes Speed
Slug is a common name the is normally applied to any kind of gastropod mollusk the lacks a shell, has a an extremely reduced shell, or has a tiny internal shell. Snail is a common name for virtually all gastropod mollusks that have coiled shells in the adult stage. As soon as the indigenous is used in a general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails.
Absence of exterior shell Presence of a large, coiled exterior shell
Animal (animalia) Animal (animalia)
Gastropod (gastropoda) Gastropod (gastropoda)
Mollusk (mollusca) Mollusk (mollusca)
Plumonata Plumonata
Internal; at time vestigial or reduced size. Coiled exterior shell, large enough for animal to retract right into completely.
Up come 15 in (38 cm). Up come 10 in (25.4 cm).
1-6 years. 2-3 year (wild); 10-15 years (captive)
Present Present
Compound Compound
Depends top top the species Depends ~ above the species; common snail moves at about 1 millimeter every second.


The only significant morphological difference between the slug and the snail is the snail’s conspicuous shell. This shell is huge enough for the snail to totally retract into for defense. Some snails are likewise able come close turn off their shell once fully retracted.

Slugs do not have actually this convenience the a mobile residence for defense. Instead, many slugs have an inner vestigial covering to keep calcium. Since there"s no shell for protection, their soft tissues are prone come desiccation.

Other than this huge exterior feature, both mollusks have actually several comparable features, prefer eye spots at the finish of slim tentacles, downward-directed mouths, and also single, broad, muscular, flat-bottom feet, i beg your pardon is lubricated through mucus and also covered v epithelial cilia.




Learn some rapid facts around the banana slug, a certain variety that slug through this Redwood Ranger video:

Below is a detailed video clip of the land snail, or as we frequently call it, the snail - its anatomy, habitat and food habits:

Speed - which is Faster, Snail or Slug?

There room thousands of types of slugs and also snails, and they every crawl at different speeds. The rate of a typical snail is around 1 millimeter every second, or 0.002 mph. Some snail types are faster than some slug species, and also some snails execute not move at every — castle stay put at the bottom the the sea and feed on any kind of plankton that may drift their way.


The method snails and also slugs move can be an extremely interesting. In many snails, tide of muscular contractions sweep along the size of your foot to develop a stepping motion. In effect, they move on only one foot.


Because there"s no shell, the slug deserve to maneuver and also compress itself right into hiding areas with very little space, e.g. Loosened bark on tree or beneath stone slabs and also wooden boards. This gives it a an excellent environmental and also survival advantage.

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Snails profession off that flexibility for the capacity to conveniently retreat into their shells because that protection, specifically from its organic enemies.

Both slugs and also snails favor hot and humid climates with ample the shade for hiding.


There space over 60 ranges of snails and much more than 20 ranges of slugs uncovered in Montana, USA alone. This video is a precursor to the many species of mollusks us come across:

As Food


Snails, much more popularly known as Escargot, offered as delicacy in part countries


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