You would find it helpful to know how snails function as it would help you tackle them more effectively. So, let’s begin by taking a look at the basics: How long do snails sleep?
Snails can sleep on and off for hours, depending on their species.
Snails can even stay awake for 30 hours if they have rested enough. Snails do not consider day and night cycles when they sleep. Instead, they simply fall asleep when they need to.
You may have heard that snails can sleep for three years. However, this is the case when snails hibernate to survive harsh temperatures.
Where Do Snails Sleep?
You will find snails sleeping on flat surfaces like a rock or the bark of a tree. Often many people confuse a sleeping snail for a dead one; however, that is not the case.
If a snail is sleeping and you pick it up, you will find the shell heavy as it is still inside. On the other hand, a dead snail will not only smell but will decompose from the inside, causing the shell to feel light when you lift it.
How Do Snails Sleep?
Most people assume that snails sleep by curling inside their shells. Snails will use materials like rocks or flat surfaces to attach themselves to them as they sleep. The shell remains intact on the snail’s body and does not hang away from it.
You can tell that a snail is sleeping if its foot is relaxed. Snails do not curl inside their shells when they are sleeping. A sleeping snail will take its time before responding to food and being touched.
If you are confused about whether a snail is alive or dead, you can also wake it by putting out some food in front of it. If that does not work for you, you can always touch the snail.
Do Snails Hibernate?
You must have noticed that snails do not come out during the winter. So, where do snails go during the wintertime?
When winter arrives, and temperatures start to fall, snails begin to look for places to hide. The reason is that snails want to hibernate and will hide under leaves, dirt, and rocks. Snails may also form a cluster to huddle together in order to survive the cold.
In places that have colder temperatures than others, snails react differently. These snails will empty their stomachs and get rid of all the liquids in their body. By doing so, the snails ensure that the liquid does not freeze and kill them.
Then, snails enter their shells and will secrete a mucous layer to seal the entrance. The layer will dry and get hard. This is a protection measure that snails take from the cold and any passing predators.
During this time, snails will also attach themselves to any surface, like tree bark or rock. While hibernating, snails have a steady heartbeat and breathe slowly. These animals will lower their metabolism and have low energy. Some garden snails do come out of hibernation during the cold when it gets warm outside.
In certain parts of the world where winters are not harsh, snails are active and will sleep when it gets cold outside. These snails will also seal their shells to tackle the cold, but they will not hibernate.
Snails need the right environment to thrive, and if that is not available, they can sleep for as long as three years. Most of this depends on where the snails areas hibernate during the summer to tackle the warm climates.
When snails are hibernating, they cover their body with mucus to protect themselves against the warm weather during the summer. However, when snails’ weather is pleasant, they will come out of hibernation and go back to their normal sleeping patterns.
Sometimes when a snail is still for a long time, it can be difficult to tell if it is hibernating or dead. It can be confusing to most people when they experience a hibernating snail for the first time. You can always look for a few signs that will tell you whether a snail is dead or hibernating.
When a snail is hibernating, it will not smell bad. Hence, if you think a snail in your garden is dead, it will help to take a whiff. When snails die, their body decomposes, which results in a bad smell.
Similarly, when you pick the snail, the shell will not feel heavy as most of the body would have rotted, and nothing will be inside. A snail that hibernates will have its body inside the shell and be stuck to a surface.
Snails, like all animals, need their rest. Snails can sleep for a few hours each day, depending on the kind of rest they need. On the other hand, some snails will remain awake for more than 30 hours if they are well-rested.
It really depends on the location and the snail. Snails do not care about the day or night cycles and sleep whenever they wish to.
Snails also hibernate and can do so for up to three years. In places with cold weather, snails will hibernate for as long as three years if the climatic conditions do not suit them. When a snail hibernates, it will curl inside its shell, stick to a wall, and not move.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden