Are Snails Without Shells Just Slugs? Let’s Explore. 

Snails Without Shells

Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by admin

Snails are commonly found in plants, gardens, and forests. Snail skin is very soft and protected by shells. These shells protect their body from external factors. Therefore, they protect their body through hard shells. Snails form body shells. Calcium carbonate is the material that makes up these shells. The snail’s body shell protects it from other predators, regulates its body temperature, and keeps its body moist. While some snails are without shells. These Snails Without Shells are known as slugs. Many questions are answered in this article, such as whether a snail can survive without its shell or it can remove the shell.

What Is A Snail?                               

A snail is a gastropod that grows with a shell. Different types of snails exist on the land and in seawater, like freshwater snails, land snails, saltwater snails, etc.

What Is A Slug?                                             

Snails without shells are called slugs. They also belong to the gastropod family, like snails. Marine slugs and land slugs are two groups of slugs. Sea slugs only live in the ocean, where they find water. Their bodies have minimal internal shells. The slugs most people know are land slugs. Their bodies are soft and have no shells inside or outside. Slugs do not share any racial evolutionary traits.        

Are Snails Born with Shells?

Most aquarists add snails to their aquariums. Snails are hermaphrodites with soft bodies protected by shells. Do snails make their shells or have natural shells when they hatch? When snails are born, they have shells. After mating male and female snails, they lay their eggs. The snails then hatch their eggs and bury them under the soil or in protected marine areas such as rocks. The hatching process takes about 4-5 weeks, and the snails emerge from the eggs and are born with shells.

Snail shells                                                                                                      

Snail shell is also known as protoconch. It is very soft and colorless. Newborn snails need a lot of calcium to harden their shells because they are fragile when they hatch. When snails hatch, they eat the shells of the eggs they hatch from to meet their calcium needs. These egg shells are an easy source of nutrition for them.                                                                      

Snails age determination                       

Snail shells grow as the snail develops. Over time, as they grow, they consume material to harden the shells. As the snail matures, the spirals on its shell also increase. You can determine the age of snails by counting the number of rings or whorls on the snail’s shell.                      

Are Snails And Slugs Look Alike?                                                       

Snails and slugs do not have the same appearance. Their characteristics and appearance differ, but both belong to the gastropod group. A slug is a gastropod without a shell, while a snail is a gastropod with a shell. These two animals are not the same. Both evolved differently. Suppose you remove a snail shell to make it a slug. It’s not good. This makes your snails dead instead of slugs. Slugs have soft and thin bodies. They vary in color and size. The most common thing among all slugs is that all slugs are plant lovers. They make holes in the leaves of plants using their tongue (radula). When slugs drill holes in plant leaves, they damage the plants and make it difficult for them to regrow.                

They not only harm plants but also transmit diseases to plants. Yellow, green, gray, black, and orange are some of the colors they have.    

How Many Inches Are Long Slugs?                                    

Slugs are slimy insects with two eyes similar to those of a snail. They use their eyes for vision, and they also have organs for vision. Slugs use tentacles for taste buds located below their eyes. They release a radula from their mouth under the tentacle. The radula is the slug’s tongue. The slug’s radula has tooth-like protrusions. These protrusions help slugs identify food before eating it. Most slugs in North America are up to 10 inches in length.

Color of Slugs:                                           

Slugs are gray and light brown in appearance. Some of them are yellow. The colors of slugs depend on the regions where they are found. Slugs’ skin protects them from predators and keeps them moist because they are made of thin mucus.       

What Things Attract Slugs The Most?          

Slugs are primarily attracted to moisture and food. They use vegetables, plants, and flowers as their food. Slugs are attracted to areas where they find moisture, particularly the moisture-retaining properties of mulch, sod, leaves, and straw. Places where slugs find a place to hatch their eggs are also attractive to slugs.                          

Do Slugs Harm People, Plants, And Pets?                                                                           

Slugs eat their body weight several times a night. Therefore, they also damage plants to regenerate their bodies. It is best for your pet not to eat slugs. Because the mucus secreted by slugs can cause vomiting and excessive drool, which will be very dangerous for your pets, cats, or dogs, if your pet eats slugs, you must ask your veterinarian to provide a lungworm vaccine.                   

Things A Slug Eat                                                               

Slugs can eat anything they find around them. These include:

  • Pets food
  • Seedlings
  • Plants            
  • Vegetables
  • Stool
  • The flower
  • The fungus
  • Cardboard and paper
  • Animals remain
  • Human food

What Is The Life Cycle Of Slugs, Or How Do They Reproduce?

Being a hermaphrodite group, slugs have both male and female opposite sexes. When opposite sexes mate, they fertilize their eggs. They then deposit their eggs under deep soil where moisture is sufficient. Their age is about one to five years. During winter, they burrow underground to protect themselves from the cold months. They mostly keep themselves underground.

Why Are Snails’ Sizes?  

A snail’s shell is similar to our nails. As snails grow, so do their shells. Snails have the ability to repair any small crack in their shell. But in case of a big crack, they cannot fix it. In this case, they will die because their shells protect snails.

Why Don’t Slugs Have Shells?                                        

Slugs and snails belong to the same family. Slugs can survive without shells because they find ways to survive without shells.

Slug shells stop growing for a few reasons, which are listed below:

  • Slugs like to live in areas that don’t have a lot of calcium. A slug does not want to eat a lot of calcium. Their favorite places are also those with small snails. They like places where calcium is low, like acidic soils.
  • They did not want to carry the weight of shells on their backs. They move faster than snails due to the lack of a shell.
  • Slugs prefer to live in areas where they get a lot of moisture, water, and rain to not dry out. During the summer and winter seasons, when the weather is too hot or too cold, slugs move into the soil where they live and survive.


Snails without shells are slugs, not snails. They are hermaphrodites but do not have a shell on their backs. They live for about 1 to 5 years and can also breed.

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What do slugs like to eat?

Slugs are plant lovers. They are herbivores that eat plants, vegetables, leaves, cabbage, etc.

How to get rid of slugs?

There are a few methods you can use to get rid of slugs.
Use lettuce leaves or cabbage as bait. The slugs will sink there when they come to the bait to get the leaves.
Use traps or boards in areas where most slugs are active. They hide on the web then you can remove them.
Use nematodes that kill slugs.

Are slugs harmful to humans?

Yes, slugs are dangerous to humans because they carry a variety of parasites. The most common rodent is the lungworm or Angiostrongyliasis Cantonese, which causes serious infestation problems.