Do Snails Have Brains?

We know all about the generic information regarding snails, but most people have limited knowledge when it comes down to details. So, let’s consider something that might seem simple: Do snails have brains?

No, snails do not have a brain. Snails, being molluscs, have a different nervous system and have no brain. 

Snails do not have a brain or a spinal cord. Instead, snails have ganglia which is a group of neurons. These neurons are present in different parts of the snail. This is the sort of brain which is present in the brains of snails. 

Do Snails Think?

Snails are not considered to be the smartest animals out there. Therefore, we can say that they are not the best thinkers. However, we give little credit to snails as they are capable of making decisions having two brain cells. 

One cell lets the snail decide if it’s hungry, and the other lets it know about food availability. Snails are not as clueless as we think them to be. 

Do All Snails Have Brains?

All snails are gastropods, and they do not have a brain. Snails have a nervous system that is considered the same as having a brain. The nervous system includes having a set of ganglia that is present in different parts of the snail.

There are two cerebral ganglia around the head and tentacles, two-pedal ganglia are in the foot muscles, and two ganglia supply the mantle cavity.

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There are other ganglia serving the radula, which are the teeth. The parietal ganglia supply the lungs, and the visceral ganglia supply the organs of the visceral cavity.

Although snails do not have the traditional brain, they have the ability to think more than they are given credit for. 

How Intelligent are Snails?

Snails are curious animals, but they do not appear to be as smart when we compare them to other animals. We can set a few parameters to determine how intelligent snails can be. 

Snails cannot process emotions or any physical sensations. As snails have an entirely different nervous system and no brain, they do not feel the same way as other animals. Snails do not feel any physical pain.

But, snails can still do associative learning despite these factors. 

Snails use their sense of touch and smell to help look for food and avoid predators. Because of this, we can say that garden snails may have feelings, but they are only limited to physical sensations and not emotions.

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Snails do not feel love, and they do not share a bond with other snails. Snails are hermaphrodites, which means they can mate with either gender. Snails do not become attached to one mate but rather have multiple options.

Identifying if snails have emotions is not an easy task. However, since snails are incapable of complex processes due to having no brain, they might not even have rudimentary feelings. 

One of the important aspects of emotional intelligence is memory. However, snails do not have memories, and their remembrance does not last even a day.

Do Snails Feel Pain?

If snails are not capable of emotions and high intelligence, then they must not feel pain? There are many people who think that snails are not capable of pain. However, snails do feel pain, although it may not be in the same manner as humans.

But, the bottom line is you do not need to be emotionally intelligent to feel pain. 

When you crush a snail, it will not provide any visible sign that it is in pain. 

Snails have also been shown to change their behaviour if they have been jolted with electricity. Many of us like to use copper to keep the snails out in our gardens. This method is effective because the copper reacts with the snail’s slime to give it a jolt.

As a result, the snail knows to change its path; otherwise, it will experience pain. It is this evidence that suggests to us that snails have some sort of feeling.

Summary 

There is not a lot of information that people know about snails except that they feed on plants and are common garden pests. Unlike mammals, snails do not have brains but have a nervous system that allows them to feel, smell and survive.

Instead of a brain, snails have a group of ganglia situated around their bodies. So, for each function, snails have ganglia that enable performance. 

Although snails cannot feel like humans and other mammals, they can physically feel with their sense of touch and can also react to danger, even if they cannot necessarily feel pain.

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