Snails are best known for their shell. The shell is made by the snail by a part of the body called the mantle. Snails secrete an acidic material from the sole of their foot that dissolves calcium in the soil and allows its uptake, so the shell can be created.
Eastern Forest Snails are our most common land snail. They grow a large shell, sometimes over an inch wide. The shell is fairly flat and tan with darker blotches. There is a flared opening leading into the shell.
They are herbivores, eating living or dead plant material. They are very important for controlling plant populations and breaking down plant materials.
These snails can move several inches in a minute. They release an orange slime as they crawl. The slime gives them a “cushion” to crawl over. This cushion protects their soft bodies from sharp things. Snails can also use old slime trails as paths back to food or shelter.
Land snails can be considered one of the many building blocks for the ecosystems in which they reside; providing not only a food source but accessibility to calcium. I enjoy looking at the unique, interesting patterns on their shells.