Slug vs Snail Best 10 Main Differences Explained

Slug vs Snail

Slugs belong to the phylum Mollusca. There are many slug species, including banana slug and land slugs. There are about 20 different varieties of slugs found in the USA, Montana alone. The slugs are creatures without any external shell or outer shell. Most slugs possess reduced shells or a small internal shell. Many slugs use this internal vestigial shell to store calcium carbonate. The soft tissues of slugs are at risk of desiccation with no protective shell. Slug slides along on a muscular foot, creating slimy mucus as they go. If we talk about the behavior slug, you won’t find slugs during the day.

These creatures called slugs wait until dusk to search for food. Slugs start laying eggs during the late winter that get matured in 3 to 6 months. 

On the other hand, snails are classified as gastropod mollusks. Many snail species, such as freshwater snails, land snails, and sea snails are present. The freshwater snails live in freshwater or aquarium eating plants, the land snail lives in the leaf litters, and sea snails live in seas and oceans all over the world. Snails spend most of their time on the litter layers of leaves.

One can find snails on the dry ground easily. The snails have a coiled body. The base of the snail’s pace is the foot that must have completely retract to cause any movement. The snail’s shell is large enough to fit into the snail’s body. The world’s largest snail is the giant whelk. Snails possess a coiled shell on the top of their body. They get coiled shells in the adult stage. Snails are slow-moving creatures that can’t chew, but the wild snails can impose a painful bite. 

There are many similarities and differences between slugs and snails. Both slugs and snails belong to the same class, gastropoda and the Gastropoda comes from the Greek words gastros. Both snails and slugs are the soft-bodied animals, with a stomach foot, slender tentacles, eyespots at the end of slender tentacles, and flat-bottom feet covered with epithelial cilia.

Most snails and slugs are drab and small. Slugs and snails leave behind a highly infectious slimy trail known as mucus. Both snails and slugs are present worldwide. 

Some snails and slugs live in water, or some slugs and snails live in the water underground. The snails and slugs are terrestrial, unlike most gastropods. Despite all these similarities, both slugs and snails are distinguished by the absence of a large exterior shell on the back of slugs. The key difference is about their diet.

Slug vs Snail

For instance, snails only eat plants, and slugs also rely on dead animal material and sometimes worms. However, the main difference between snails and slugs is the presence of the conspicuous shell in snails and the reduced shell in slugs. These gastropod mollusk species will completely destroy gardens. This blog post also provides exciting facts and information about slugs and snails. 



  • The slugs possess a slimy gelatinous appearance, tentacles that look like antennae. The eyes are present over these tentacles. They possess a body of various colors, such as yellow, black, brown, green, and grey. In addition to it, a very few species of these flatworms, with two snail-like eyestalks, are of orange or red color. 
  • The snails have small eyes at the base or top of the main stalks, one or more tentacles’ pairs emerging from the head, and a soft, tube-shaped foot for movement on the tree leaf litters. In addition to it, their body can show a wide range of colors with different designs but are usually yellow or brown-colored. 
  • The slugs are present in various countries throughout the world, such as the west and east coasts of the United States, providing the right conditions for these creatures to thrive. The slugs are native to various dark, damp habitats and homes. These animal species require a humid or a high moisture environment to survive. 
  • The snails are present in various countries throughout the world. Their primary habitat includes the upper leaf litter of wetlands, old fields, forests, etc. In addition to this, these small creatures are also found in more disturbed habitats, such as suburbs, fields, active gardens, riverbanks, and even cities. 
  • Although the exact patterning and coloring of the slug species are variable, they possess an average body length between 4 to 8 inches or 10 to 20 centimeters. They are generally of grey-brown or light grey color with blotches and darker spots. The average body weight of slugs is 300 milligrams, but foot-long California weighs about ¼ pounds. 
  • The largest known species of snails called the Giant African snail, possess about one-foot long body. However, the largest species coming from Southern China grows no more than one millimeter. They can grow as long as 12 inches. The average body weight of snails is between seven and fifteen grams. They are cooked under various local conditions.
  • The slugs are omnivores, herbivores, carnivores, and detritivorous (eating waste from other animals and plants), meaning they can eat everything. Their primary diet contains fungus, animal waste, rotting vegetation, vegetation, worms, wilting lettuce leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers, other snails, etc. 
  • The snails are omnivores, herbivores, carnivores, and detritivorous like slugs, meaning they can eat everything they want. The land snails enjoy a variety of food, such as fresh produce. In contrast, the primary diet of these species includes animal waste, vegetation, fungus, worms, etc. 
  • The slugs produce pheromones, detecting them across some distances. These animal species trade pheromones directly once they get close to each other. In addition to it, the slugs can also produce those pheromones that are left behind in the slime trail of other slugs. That’s why it is said snail mail. 
  • Research has shown that snails leave slime trails during gliding, and pheromones are present within that mucus that other snail species could detect quickly. These creatures also trade pheromones like slugs when they are close to each other. They can communicate through two tentacles over their heads. 
  • The slime of slugs consists of salts, mucus, and water. The mucus is further composed of proteins attached with carbohydrates called mucins. In addition to it, the slugs form sticky, moisture-trapping gels when slime is added to water. The slime of the slug is hygroscopic as it can absorb water. 
  • The slime of snails is a type of mucus that is an external bodily secretion produced by the snail species. The snails are gastropod mollusks. In addition to it, snails also produce mucus-like slugs and other gastropods from terrestrial, marine and freshwater environments. 
  • The slugs cause great trouble to humans. For example, these creatures burrow underground, meaning big trouble for flower bulbs, root vegetables, and even trees. They remain above ground during summer, looking for food at night.  
  • The snails possess a rough, rasp-like tongue to be used to scrape across the edges of plant leaves. As a result, there are big holes across the plant surface area. It means snails are one of the main reasons for damaging or killing people’s greenery. 
  • The slugs live for a specific time, after which they die. For instance, the average lifespan of these creatures in the wild is about 6 years but they can live for more than five to six years. 
  • The snails also have a specific lifespan, after which they die. These animal species live for about one to ten years in the wild. The average lifespan in captivity is up to 25 years. 
  • The slugs are preyed on by various predators in the world. The main predators are raccoons, chickens, ducks, toads, snakes, etc. 
  • There are also some snail predators on the earth’s surface, such as salamanders, mice, squirrels, blackbirds, thrushes, etc. 
  • Although slugs are not extinct, they are listed in the list of endangered species according to the IUCN. 
  • The snails are listed endangered worldwide due to pollution, global warming, or habitat destruction. 


Sometimes people get confused and raise questions about slug vs snail to clear their minds. Therefore, the answers to some of those submitted questions are as mentioned below;

What kills snails and slugs?

Salt is considered one of the harmful substances that can kill slugs and snails. It absorbs water from these mollusk species, ultimately dehydrating and killing them. There should be some precautions using salt as it can also harm plants and other animals. 

Are slugs harmful?

Research has shown that slugs are a harmful species. They produce slimy mucus that can cause vomiting or excess drool in pets like dogs and cats if ingested. Slugs also carry a parasite known as rat lungworm that can get transferred to pets if they eat slug species. 


Various plants and animals are present throughout the world, all possessing unique identification characters discriminating against them. The same is the case with slugs and snails. There are many similarities and differences between these creatures, but people still confuse them. There is no need to worry as this blog post has provided exciting facts and information that is enough to make people’s minds clear. It will help greatly if you read this article with great care and pay full attention. 

You May Also Like

About the Author: Zoological world

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: