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Follow a Snail Trail

Study a snail to learn more about these slimy, slow creatures.

Ranger Rick
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Participant Age: 7 to 12, Under 7
Approximate Cost: $0
Duration: 1 to 60 minutes
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • Clear container
Find a Snail

Just follow the trail: Silvery tracks of dried slime may lead you straight to a snail (or a slug).

No trails? Then look in their favorite hiding places: under rocks, logs, and damp leaves or on the plants in a garden.

Have a Snail Race

Just how slow does a snail go? Draw a circle on the ground and put a snail in the middle. Use a watch to time how long it takes the snail to crawl out. Or set two snails side by side. Which one wins the race?

Observe Your Snail's Movement

To see your snail in action, put it in a clear container and watch it move from underneath. Do you see the muscles in its foot rippling? Can you see its tiny mouth?

Find "Sleeping" Snails

Has winter weather already arrived where you live? Not to worry! It's a perfect time to find 'sleeping' snails. If you look under leaves, rocks, or logs, you may find one tucked in for a long nap. Shhh! Don't wake it up. But do check for a special 'door' over its shell opening. That's dried mucus the snail makes to keep out winter's cold, dry air. In a few months, look for your friend again to tell it "happy spring!"

Be sure to return snails to their homes as soon as you've finished studying them!


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