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Ranger Rick
Average Rating: 
Participant Age: 
7 to 12, Under 7
Approximate Cost: 
1 to 60 minutes
Date submitted: 
Physical Challenge: 
Follow a Snail Trail
Study a snail to learn more about these slimy, slow creatures.
  • Clear container
Step 1
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.

Step 2
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?

Step 3
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?

Step 4
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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