Slugs and snails are generally identified by the presence of a large exterior covering on the back of snails. Snails and slugs room both gastropod mollusks, and also unlike many gastropods they are terrestrial i.e. Discovered on land.

You are watching: Difference between a slug and a snail

slug versus Snail comparison graph
SlugSnailIntroduction Distinguishing feature Kingdom Class Phyllum Order Shell Common dimension Common Life expectancy Antennae Eyes Speed
Slug is a common name the is normally applied to any type of gastropod mollusk the lacks a shell, has a very reduced shell, or has a little internal shell. Snail is a usual name for almost all gastropod mollusks that have coiled shells in the adult stage. As soon as the word is supplied in a basic sense, it includes sea snails, soil snails and also 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 times vestigial or lessened size. Coiled exterior shell, large enough for animal to retract into completely.
Up to 15 in (38 cm). Up to 10 in (25.4 cm).
1-6 years. 2-3 year (wild); 10-15 years (captive)
Present Present
Compound Compound
Depends ~ above the species Depends top top the species; common snail moves at around 1 millimeter every second.


The only significant morphological difference in between the slug and also the snail is the snail’s conspicuous shell. This covering is large enough for the snail to completely retract right into for defense. Some snails are also able to close off their covering once fully retracted.

Slugs do not have actually this convenience the a mobile house for defense. Instead, countless slugs have an internal vestigial shell to store calcium. Due to the fact that there"s no shell for protection, their soft tissues are prone to desiccation.

Other 보다 this big exterior feature, both mollusks have several comparable features, like eye spots at the end of slim tentacles, downward-directed mouths, and single, broad, muscular, flat-bottom feet, i m sorry is lubricated through mucus and covered v epithelial cilia.




Learn some quick facts around the banana slug, a particular variety that slug with this Redwood Ranger video:

Below is a detailed video 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 are thousands of species of slugs and snails, and they every crawl at different speeds. The speed of a typical snail is about 1 millimeter per second, or 0.002 mph. Part snail types are faster than part slug species, and also some snails carry out not move at every — lock stay put at the bottom of the sea and feed on any plankton that might drift their way.


The means snails and also slugs move deserve to be an extremely interesting. In many snails, tide of muscular contractions move along the length of their foot to create a stepping motion. In effect, they relocate on just one foot.


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

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Snails trade off that versatility for the capacity to conveniently retreat right into their shells for protection, particularly from its organic enemies.

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


There room over 60 ranges of snails and an ext than 20 ranges of slugs discovered in Montana, USA alone. This video clip is a precursor come the many types of mollusks we come across:

As Food


Snails, more popularly well-known as Escargot, served as delicacy in some countries


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