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Difference between Snail and Slug

Snail and slug both are mollusks that belong to the class Gastropoda. Both are hermaphrodite and prefer shady, damp places with a warm climate. People often confuse these two creatures as they look alike. Let us see how a snail differs from a slug!


Snails belong to the phylum Mollusca. They are characterized by the presence of a coiled shell on their body. There are a large number of species or types of snails that are generally categorized into three different groups: land snails, sea snails and freshwater snails. Although snails can be found in a wide range of habitats, they are usually found in agricultural lands where people grow crops or the regions with plenty of vegetation.

Snails move through a muscle which is known as a foot. They have one or more pairs of tentacles on their heads. A snail can measure up to 10 inches in length, depending on the species. They have a large number of microscopic tooth-like structures on their ribbon-like tongue called radula. They are mostly herbivores, so mostly feed on vegetation such as leaves, stems and flowers. Their natural predators include birds, rodents, amphibians etc.

They are hermaphrodite which means their body has both the sex organs: male and female reproductive organs. Around one month after mating, snails lay small white eggs on a covered leaf or into a burrow in the ground. Snails always remain attached to their shells so are not able to hide easily and usually find refuge within their own shell. Snails may live up to 2 to 3 years.


A slug also belongs to the phylum Mollusca. It does not have any shell or protective coat on the top of its body. Slugs generally secrete a layer of mucus for protection against predators. They have two sets of "sensors" or tentacles on their head and prefer cool, dull, and soggy places.

A slug can measure up to 15 inches in length, depending on the species. They can easily squeeze their body in small and narrow places like loose bark on the trees, logs on the ground and between rocks. Slugs may live up to 6 years in the wild and are hermaphrodites creatures which mean they have both male and female reproductive organs.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between snail and slug are as follows:

Snail Slug
It is a gastropod mollusk that has a coiled shell on its body in the adult stage. It is a gastropod mollusk that lacks the shell.
It does not secrete any mucus rather it uses its shell for protection against predators. It secretes a layer of mucus for protection against predators.
It measures around 25.4 cm in length. It measures around 38 cm in length.
Its average lifespan ranges from 2 to 3 years. Its average lifespan ranges from 1 to 6 years.
It may harm crops as it prefers to eat green plants. It may acts as a pesticide for farmers as it can be used to kill insects.
It is comparatively less maneuverable and compressible. It is comparatively more maneuverable and compressible.
Main species include garden snail, banded snail, and strawberry snail. Main species include field slug, garden slug, keeled slug and large black slug.
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