Snail is a common name for gastropod molluscs that can be split into three groups, land snails, sea snails and freshwater snails.
Snails can have lungs or gills depending on the species and their habitat. Some marine snails actually can have lungs and some land based snails can have gills.
Snail-like animals that do not have a shell are usually called slugs.
Most snail species have a ribbon-like tongue called a radula that contains thousands of microscopic teeth. The radula works like a file, ripping food up into tiny pieces.
The majority of snails are herbivores eating vegetation such as leaves, stems and flowers, some larger species and marine based species can be predatory omnivores or even carnivores.
The giant African land snail grows to about 38 cm (15 in) and weigh 1 kg (2lb).
The largest living sea snail species is the Syrinx aruanus who's shell can reach 90 cm (35 in) in length and the snail can weigh up to 18 kg (40lbs)!
Common garden snails have a top speed of 45 m (50 yards) per hour. Making the snail one of the slowest creatures on Earth.
As they move along snails leave behind a trail of mucus which acts as a lubricant to reduce surface friction. This also allows the snail to move along upside down.
Depending on the species snails can live 5 - 25 years.
The common garden snail is regarded as an agricultural and garden pest as it eats the leaves and stems of crops.
The snail is a delicacy in French cuisine called escargot. The snail is also eaten in many other countries of the world, often as a fried meal.
In English, the expression "a snail's pace" is a term used to describe a slow, inefficient process and "snail mail" is now commonly used when referring to sending regular mail rather than that sent by email.