How Long do Snails Sleep – Snails belong to the family of Mollusc. There are thousands of varied snail species currently exist. They are found throughout the entire world on land, within freshwater surroundings as well as the seawater. There is scientific proof that snails do sleep. However, they have got quite bizarre sleeping habits compared to most of the large and developed vertebrates.
They exist on all of the continents on the planet with Antartica being an exception which is quite not sure as there are sea snails and may find inhabiting the surrounding waters.
Snails vary much in sizes such as land snail called Punctum minutissimum or the large sea snail called Syrinx aruanus which are found to be almost up to 30 inches long.
Though snails are categorised as hermaphrodites who possess both gender’s sexual organs, the reproduction process is a must for fertilizing the eggs similar to others in the animal kingdom.
The research paper was duly published in 2011 which was done at the Toronto University. The research confirmed that snails actually do sleep. How did they were sleeping or resting?
They measured their reaction time to stimuli like tapping on their shell and presenting them with food. Snails were put under observation for about 79 days to get insight into the sleeping patterns of snails.
Snails are one of the slowest as well as laid back creatures. It’s hard to imagine even they require taking nap occasionally.
The recent research conducted by the Toronto University revealed the very first proof that even simple organisms such as gastropods need sleep. It only more mystifies about the importance and need of sleep in animals.
Researchers like Richard Stephenson and Dr Vern Lewis are from the Toronto University. They first noticed that snails found in ponds were spending around ten percent of time attaching towards the side of the tank and their tentacles being partly withdrawn, the shells freely dangling away from the body and their feet being symmetrical and totally relaxed. This specific incident sparked the further investigation.
It was possible that snails were simply resting rather than to reach the conclusion of sleeping. To exactly determine what might be the snail up to, the researchers began to observe their reaction to the applied stimuli like tapping on their shell, prodding them with a metallic rod or introducing food to them.
They found that the active snails reacted two times quicker to physical touch with seven times quicker to appetite stimulation compared to the snails which were resting.
They took eight snails into consideration and began to monitor them for 79 days. Researchers wanted to discover the sleeping patterns and their habits. It came as no surprise that gastropods experience different sleeping phases than humans.
For example, snails have a sleeping pattern which can last between two and three days with seven sleeping bouts in a period of 13 to 15 hours followed by an uninterrupted activity that lasted more than 30 hours. Moreover, it seemed as they didn’t care about covering their lost sleeping hours.
Although it is still a mystery behind why animals need to sleep, most experts admit that sleeping is necessarily significant to neurological health, specifically for organising as well as processing memory.
After discovering the fact about simple organisms with uncomplicated nervous systems needing sleep brings to the conclusion that sleep might play more important and primal role in relation to biological processes which were not anticipated before.
Snails may not be the only animal having a simpler system that requires sleep but also animals such as fruit flies or crayfish or even simpler nematode worms were found sleeping.
Moreover, it might imply the dreaming behavior too. No such dreaming evidence has been uncovered yet, but it certainly brings the question on the table
Information from the Toronto University clearly shows that snails go through bizarre sleep cycle compared to humans. Their sleeping cycle was found to at least last two days which is quite astonishing.
Snails tend to sleep about seven bouts between 13 and 15 hours period. Then follows the activity period of about 30 hours. Also, if they somehow missed their usual sleeping pattern they need not cover those sleep duration.
It really depends on the term sleep when you use. Some snails were found to be hibernating for half a year and more during the colder season.
Others were found aestivating as long as they can during the dry season. Some snails which are found in the desert did nothing for 2-3 years necessarily in wait for the sky water.
Snails remain inactive in temperate climates whether the weather remains dry or wet. I am assuming they like to lay back and chill. It’s controversial to use the term sleep when a snail is inactive because during hibernation and aestivation they tend to fall into suspended animation. How cool is that?
There is a species found in Baja California who has a record of staying dormant for entire 6 years. Often snails don’t last that stretched period without food and moving around and some have a lifespan of only a year.
There are very few small types which have the ability to last longer than 12 months without having to move. They are found in scorched climates. Usually, they aestivate during the hot summers falling into suspended animation in anticipation of the rain.
There are very few that are found in valid deserts which can survive the mentioned suspended animated state for quite a few years. A species found in Baja California has the record of 6 years and some species have found to stay for 5 whole years.
The ultimate problem is water loss which these snails seem to be quite good at. They will prevent evaporation. Their body features “epiphragm” or in other words is the dry mucus membrane in the shell mouth.
Besides their thick shells, the exposed body part include mechanisms which slow down the water movement that flows out from their body.
One snail species is found in Israel that is known to survive for 19 years. However, it only moves only very few times during its whole lifespan.
Snails don’t necessarily sleep but Hibernate like any other hibernating animals. Snails tend to hibernate when the climate is excessively cold and hibernation is a survival tactic they use.
There are reports about some species including desert snails hibernating for several years before dying. Their common food plants well as other vegetation. They bury themselves under the ground then draw down their shells using their slime.
They are found to eat live plants, rotting plants, algae, dying plants and fruits. There is aradula found inside their mouth which helps them grind down the food. Snails also eat the chalk on the rock surface that provides necessary protein and mineral required for the shell.
Snails have some features for managing to gather the moisture for their survival. They are:
- A somewhat slimy gel covers snail shell opening which avoids air to pass through.
- Most snails are nocturnal because the daylight tends to burn them badly.
- Since they belong to hermaphrodites’ class, they won’t have any need to find a mate and go into the arid air.
- Snails usually live on land and in water and depend on which species they are. They don’t actually need a perfect fit environment as they carry their own homes which are also a safety measure.
- When air becomes particularly dry, desert snails know it and go underground so as to keep hold of moisture. These snails can hibernate in those burrows for about 3 years till the temperature falls down and becomes suitable. An average snail can live up to 15 years.
How does a Snail Move
There is something that shapes up like a plane foot in snails. Those are found at the bottom of their body and contain muscles which constantly contracts as well as expands for creating movement.
The slimy trail that we are used to seeing is the exactly created by that foot which is specifically a gland. It excretes slime that hardens upon mixing with air.
Know Estivation and Hibernation
There is more to their sleeping patterns. Snails tend to fall into a very deep sleep so as to avoid unpleasant weather conditions plus when food becomes scarce. In cold climates, snails hibernate in the winter season while in hot climates they tend to estivate.
Soenarjo wrote a book called “The life cycle of snail” in 1989. According to the book, a snail takes about three months to reach berikutmya stage. For a paddy snail, it is 6 to 7 months. When a snail ages 15 days they reach 4.1 mm in width and 5.8 mm in height.
Snails become fully developed adults in about three months following the hatching stage. They will be ready for regeneration and the body reaches 3 to 4 cm in length and 10 to 20 gm in weight.
A typical life cycle of a snail follows a period of egg incubation which can take from 7 to 14 days, hatching of the adult body that can take from 15 to 25 days, growing period that is 49 to 59 days following reproductive period that last 2 months to 3 years.
The active period, as well as aestivation period, usually depends on the environmental conditions. Also, the temperature affects how much does the snail becomes active as well as the rain amount or keterediaan nourishment is also important. Light intensity or photoperiod had little effect or no effect at all.
Conch usually immerses them under mud during the resting period which results in decreased metabolism. Those snail species which rest themselves unto dry mud require the reduced oxygen consumption level.
Esetebet and Martin (2002) moreover added about snails sleeping inactively in hot environments with scorching temperatures to become active again following a wet condition.
For this specific issue, conch experiences turnover in respiratory system – general aerobic respiration turn into semi-anaerobic respiration which is also called anaerobic glycolysis.
When the situation gets less favorable with metabolisits channel producing lactic acid, it can be totally neutralised with the help of calcium and results to calcium lactate existing in snail feed.
Water with dissolved calcium becomes an important factor regarding the molluscs survival span as the shell formation really depends on it.
Most of these snails like highly carbonated water which contain pH level greater than 7. Snails typically subsist in water with a pH level of 5 to 8 and tolerate temperature that is between 23 and 33 degree Celsius.
A snail undergoes a resting period which really relates to the existing circumstances. They tend to rest throughout the dry climatic period until the rain falls in areas that have dry as well as wet periods.
A snail in a very unusual location that has a particular wet along with dry seasons rests during excess temperature and sometimes hibernates during the winter when the food becomes scarce. They also hide within the mud if there is a sudden spike in temperature during spring or autumn.
A snail starts to produce with the very beginning of spring. Snails living in surroundings that have enough food as well as water all round the year like tropical forests don’t rest as much, however, their activities might vary.
Snails don’t eat during the resting periods. Food is turned into fat for storage with only little turned into carbohydrates fat that is stored within glandular tissue cells called “midgut”.
After knowing snails as has been described, it should be known how to facilitate the deployment acultivation and control and utilization.
Snails moving from one place to another by means of sliding. At the time of movement snails, slugs the discharge in the form of lenders as utuk layer movement by means of longitudinal muscle fibers wrinkled legs undulating.
The mucus serves as a lubricant and also serves as a way to hold the feet to relax during the contacting portions moving forward (Hyman, 1967).
He said the world (1985) how the movement of snails from one place to another, besides trying to walk alone can also be run by sticking on an object to follow the flow of water currents, sometimes intentionally brought man as happy to see good shape with a golden yellow color.