Are Slugs and Snails the Same?

Are Slugs and Snails the Same

Slugs and snails are both garden pests, which are known to damage plants and create havoc. Many people can get confused between the two pests. It can be helpful to know about snails and slugs so you can recognize them in your garden and tackle them accordingly. 

Slugs and snails are different animals, but they are quite similar. 

While snails and slugs are similar, there is a major difference in the way they look. A snail has a shell. However, a slug does not. Both the animals glide and are slimy. The slime helps snails and slugs to glide and move across. Snails and slugs consume plant material, but slugs also eat dead animal matter. A snail’s shell protects it and can get bigger as the snail does. 

Can a Snail Become a Slug?

Snails and slugs have such similar characteristics that many people wonder if they are the same. While a slug is essentially a snail without its shell, they still are different animals. However, that does not mean that if a snail loses its shell, it will become a slug. 

A snail’s shell is like its body armour, protecting it from the same. A snail is born with its shell, which is an essential part of its body. However, in the initial stages, the snail’s shell is soft and is not formed correctly. As time progresses, the soft shell takes its shape and becomes hard as the snail becomes an adult. As the snail grows in size, it can secrete new material, which forms the shell accordingly. 

The snail’s shell is so important that when it breaks, it can die. If the snail experiences small damage, it can fix it. However, any big damage is a problem and can kill the snail. Not only does the shell act like armour, but it also prevents snails from drying. 

Snails and slugs both belong to the group of animals known as molluscs. In this group, other animals like squid, oysters, and squid are also included. 

Slugs have evolved from snails, and either they barely have a shell, or it is internal. There are certain benefits and drawbacks which slugs have to face as a consequence of evolving. While snails get protection from predators by hiding in their shells, they also prevent drying out.

When it comes to slugs, their shells are internal, which means they do not receive the protection, and probably have a good chance at drying out than slugs.  However, as slugs have their shells inside, they require less calcium than snails. In addition, slugs have the chance of hiding in small places, like tiny holes, as opposed to snails whose shells prevent them from doing so. 

How Can Slugs and Snails Damage Gardens?

Sometimes you may not realize that you have slugs and snails in your garden because you cannot spot them. Slugs and snails usually come out during the dark, but you can learn from some of the damage in your garden and tell that you have these pests.

You can tell that your garden has slugs and snails if the leaves and flowers have holes in them. Most insects become active after the springtime. If during this time you notice any damage, it can be likely due to slugs and snails. The bulbs of plants will also have holes in them, and sometimes snails and slugs leave some slime behind. These animals are fast and will attack any seedling in your garden by consuming them whole and leaving the stem behind. 

After noticing all the little hints, you can ensure that you have these pests in your garden by going out in the evening and looking for yourself. In addition, you can also go early morning and have a look at your plants. 

Apart from the plant damage, slugs and snails are carriers of the dangerous parasite lungworm as they consume rat feces. This can harm your pets if they consume the snails and slugs in your garden. 

How to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails 

Now that you have read about the kind of damage slugs and snails can do, you know how important it is to get rid of them. There are a few ways you can adopt to keep your garden from these pests. 

Many people think the easy way of getting rid of slugs and snails is to use chemicals – the number one choice being slug pellets. However, slug pellets are known to harm the environment and affect wildlife like hedgehogs. 

You can set beer traps in your garden to collect some of the snails and slugs. By filling the container with beer, you can attract snails and slugs, which eventually drown in it. In addition, coffee is known to have an effect on slugs and snails. You can sprinkle some coffee grounds around some of your plants to keep these pests away. Moreover, you can also spray some coffee if you spot any of them. 

Another method of controlling slugs and snails is to introduce some natural predators in your garden. The predators will not only add diversity to your garden but also control the slug and snail population. Some of the predators you can attract are birds, hedgehogs, and frogs. 

Summary

Slugs and snails are both garden pests that destroy plants. However, many people do not know the difference between both animals. Slugs and snails are completely different animals but are similar. The only big difference that these animals have is that snails have a shell, while slugs do not. But this does not mean that a slug can turn into a snail. Slugs have evolved from snails, and either their shell is too small to be noticed, or it is internal. 

Whether you have snails or slugs, it is important to get rid of them. You can protect your garden by installing beer traps, sprinkling coffee grounds, and introducing some predators to contain the population.

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