I teach a lot of Environmental Education workshops for teachers and college students studying to become teachers. Quite often during those workshops we come up with many silly questions (or are their no silly questions?) that we feel like we should really know the answers to, but don't. I'm the type of person who doesn't have to be RIGHT, but feels a need to know the RIGHT ANSWER. So, I usually end up going back to the office and looking up the answer to those "silly questions". I am going to share that knowledge with you in these "Random Science Knowledge to WOW Your Friends" posts.
The first question is this....
Where do snails go in the winter?
Now, we all know there isn't a mass southern migration of snails during the winter, but the where do they go and what do they do? This question came up at a winter workshop at Westminster college during an activity where the students were supposed to look for signs of animals. Someone listed that they found a dead snail or a snail shell that was full of dirt. That prompted the question and further discussion of snails. None of us knew the answer.
Personally, I know my yard is full of snails in the spring. Where were they until then? Didn't they freeze over the winter? I went home and did a bit of research. The answer is this.....
An excerpt from TIME magazine article describes -
Snails may live five years, but they reach maturity in a year. When autumn comes, it brings the crisis of their lives: they must prepare for the winter by burying themselves in the soil and secreting a door of lime to cover the opening of their shell. Only strong and healthy snails completely accomplish this process. Those that omit any detail die during the winter.
Interesting huh? If you want to learn more about snails in the winter, check out these other links.