Slimy Slitherers

Slugs and Snails 

This week’s Wild@Home is all about our gastropod friends: land-based slugs and snails. You’ll probably be surprised to hear that in the UK we have around 120 species of land snail (plus fresh water ones) and approximately 40 species of slug! That’s quite a few, right? 

These slimy creatures do get a bit of bad press for eating our plants and vegetables but actually only a very small number are pest species. Many of them like to eat fungi and rotting plants, helping to keep gardens tidy, return nutrients to the soil and they are food for garden birds and hedgehogs. They can also be very beautiful to look at!

Explore:

Take a look in your garden or yard and see how many slugs and snails you can find and how many different types there are. You will find more on a wet or grey day. On a sunny day try looking under logs or plant pots or in the compost heap if you have one. Our Slug and Snail ID sheet will show you some of the species you may find. If you do find a few snails, you may want to put them in a pot for a bit to help you with the next sections. Good luck!

Discover:

Click on the picture below to open up our Slug and Snail information sheet to learn lots of exciting facts about slugs and snails:

Now, we have a challenge for you…

Try out our Snail Diet Experiment. This is not about encouraging the slugs to slim and get fit, it’s about investigating what they like to eat and what they don’t like to eat. Click on our Snail Diet Experiment Sheet and our Snail Experiment Results Sheet and then design your own experiment with plants from your garden – with your parents’ permission, of course – and only using small bits of leaves. Before you start, have a think about what you expect to find. Will you be right? 

Do:

After all these science experiments it’s time to sit back for a bit of fun. Watch this video of the World Snail Racing Championships, yes it is a thing!

Then maybe you can have a go yourself with your family. If you can’t see friends at the moment perhaps they could choose a snail and you could have a virtual race with them!