Snails can be found all over the place! They prefer damp, cool places,
so you'll often find them out and about after a shower or rainstorm. They
usual like to hang out in your yard or in places such as the park, where
they can be a bit pesky since they like to nibble on the plants and shrubs.
This can be frustrating for somebody who is trying to grow plants! Some
snails live in ponds or even in the ocean! Pond and ocean snails are specially
adapted to breathing under the water like fish.
All snails, wherever they might live, belong to a group of animals called
"mollusks". Mollusks are animals with soft bodies that are protected
by hard shells. Shells of land snails come in different shapes and colors,
but the ones you find in yards or parks are usually mottled, earthy, dirt
colored to help to camouflage it from its enemies such as birds or rats.
Snails move along on their "foot". The foot is the long, slimy
part of the snail you can see when you look at a snail. At one end of the
"foot" is the head of the snail where its eyes and mouth are.
The foot can be pulled right into its shell if it gets scared, and in sunny,
dry weather a snail can seal of the entrance to protect itself from drying
out. It leaves a small hole for breathing though! If the weather gets very
cold, snails can hibernate underground!
Snails are interesting creatures, just remember though that they are living
things and their natural lifestyles and habitats should be respected at
Make a Snail Garden
Always ask for the help of a grown-up with projects!
You can collect snails for observation, as long as you are sure to be gentle and considerate of their preferred and natural habitat.
You can make your own "snail garden" by using a transparent container
(such as a fish bowl) filled with leaves etc. to recreate a garden setting.
You can be as imaginative as you wish. Use a mesh (available at most hardware
stores) over the opening, secured in place, to allow the air to circulate
freely. Don't use something such as paper, because the snails can chew
through it and escape!
Collect a few snails and place them inside. Always handle snails with care
and always wash your hands after handling snails, or any other animals.
Remember, you must keep the whole area clean and moist, so your "snail
garden" will require regular and adequate cleaning, and keep the area
damp by using a water-spray bottle to mist the leaves and air inside. Keep
the 'snail garden" out of direct sunlight or heat. You can now observe
how your snails eat, move etc. Keep a log, if you wish, include things
such as photos, drawings, writing about what you see.
After a week or so, you can release your snails back into the wild. Be
careful to avoid over crowding in your container, so keep an eye on the
snails to make sure they are not too cramped.
• Try inventing and drawing your own snaily characters. A fun and easy
way to start out is by using your thumb-prints! Make sure you use non-toxic
paint. Your thumbprint will be the shell. Then, using crayons, add on the
head, antenna, foot etc to finish off your snail. Draw a whole bunch to
create your own snaily family!
• To make bigger snails use potato prints (ask a grown-up to slice the
potato in half for you). Dip the flat side into non-toxic paint and press
firmly onto plain paper. Once the paint is dry, the potato print will be
the shell. You can decorate the "shell" with whatever you wish,
such as stickers, crayons or paints etc. Complete your snail by adding
all the snail body parts using crayons. When it has dried, you can ask
a grown-up to cut out your snail and stick it to a craft-stick with tape,
so you can have your very own snaily puppet show!
• Use a piece of string to create the coil-like affect on a snail shell.
Arrange the string on the paper in a spiral. Using non-toxic paint, use
your brush to paint a circle shape over the string. Use a dabbing action
rather than brush strokes, and only use a little bit of paint, being careful
not to move the string. Once the paint has dried, remove the string carefully,
and hey-presto! You will have an instant snail shell. The string will have
left an area of unpainted paper that will be in the coil shape. Then, using
your crayons add on the other features of the snail.
• If you have some chalk, have a grown-up help you draw a fun game of Snail
Hopscotch! Draw out a huge snail shell with the squares of the hopscotch
coiling into the middle, numbered one to ten. Start at the very outside
of the shell, and using a small pebble (be careful when throwing not to
hit anyone else nearby), throw it onto the first square, then hop in, pick
it up and hop out again....and so on right through to the end square, just
like in a regular game of hopscotch, only this time you'll be coiling around!