How do slugs and snails move?
Did you know slugs and snails have a foot that helps them move? Stuart Blackman explains more
Slugs and snails move using a foot – yes, a foot! This muscular organ stretches along the bottom of the gastropod’s body. If you place a slug or snail on a sheet of glass and watch it move from below, you’ll see a rippling effect travel the length of its foot, from back to front.
For a while, scientists thought that these contractions caused the animal’s sticky mucus coat to liquefy, allowing the waves to slide the foot forward in sections.
But new research shows that the contractions actually lift the foot off the ground to move it, so the mucus is only needed when the animal is climbing vertical surfaces or moving upside-down.
Main image © Getty Images
Subscribe to BBC Wildlife Magazine
CHOOSE YOUR BONUS GIFT when you subscribe to BBC Wildlife Magazine today.
Choose from either a Interactive Beehive or, a RSPB Open Nestbox. Plus, save 35% off the subscription price!