Why do snails foam?

Whenever I try to lift snails up using their shell or in case of any slight jerk, they happen to return back into their snail. However this is not the only thing usually happening, and one would spot a lot of foam being generated at the opening of the shell.

Snails produce various sorts of secretions to help itself crawl, keep itself away from dehydration (for terrestrial snails). Another purpose served is a defense mechanism. Snails would crawl back into their snail and this may protect it from larger predators. However smaller predators such as ants may be able to get into the shell through the opening. The foam generated rapidly in large amounts is actually to block the opening of the shell and prevent anything from getting inside. This foam remains for a very long time.

In my attempts to foldscope a snail, I was pretty successful to view one. But before I could actually attach my phone to it and record, the snail crawled into its shell. Accompanied by foaming. I was able to capture some of the bubbly moments.

Apologies for the potato quality 😂.

I had to search for a very small snail, enough to be foldscopeable. Some baby snails were luckily present at my home.

Now to make space for them to crawl on the coverslip (so that I would be able to see them from below), I took some wheat dough and made thin cylinders out of it. These I put on the slide to form a square over which I placed the coverslip that had the snail on it. You can use clay too.

From this exercise I also learnt the snails I have can be attracted and gathered in large numbers using the very wheat dough! They loved to graze upon it.

Thanks for the read,

Ronak.

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