Snail Shells – Or Are They?

One day we were going to the local public library. On the way I picked up a snail shell that looked interesting. It was clear!

We picked up many of them. They were in the cracks in the sidewalk. And it had rained the day before or the day before that. I think the snails must have got into the cracks and then the rain stopped and so they dried out inside the cracks!

Snail Shells 1

This is all the shells we found. I think it was nearly all the shells in the cracks!

Snail Body

This is body of the creature that was in the shell. EWWWWWW!!!

Big Opaque Shell

This was the only opaque shell. And it was the biggest too!

Translucent Shell

This is my Mom holding one of the translucent shells up to the sun. But you don’t see the sun!


Peo’s Questions

 

  1. Why are the little shells clear but the big one opaque?
  2. Do you know what the body is a body of?
  3. If they hadn’t dried up in the sidewalk cracks, how did they get there?
  4. And how did the shells get made clear?

6 comments

  1. Rugger Ducky says:

    The littler shells are not completely see through, just the part where the snail is growing. The body is the body of a garden snail. Its possible that the smaller ones were living in the crack, where there was water, until it rained, then they took the opportunity to start growing new shells.

    But they wound up drying up, because of where you live. Its possible they even grew too big to get out of the crack themselves and move to a safe place. They create new shell layer by layer, and the little ones all have a new growth layer of shell. That’s the see through part. The reason the bigger one isn’t see through is because it was older and had developed a full shell of that size. It would eventually have grown another new section as it got too big for its current house.

    And that’s the cool thing, to be able to take your house with you on your back. And as you grow up, your house grows with you. Always enough room for your things.

  2. Mike D. says:

    1. Why are the little shells clear but the big one opaque?

    Probably because of the thickness of the shell. You know how wax paper is translucent? As you stack more layers of wax paper up… it becomes opaque. Same thing here, just on a much smaller scale.

    2. Do you know what the body is a body of?

    Some kind of mollusk. My yard is full of these things. They eat the flowers. >_<

    Anyway, it's a shriveled-up corpse, so it won't look much like it did when it was alive. Best bet is to identify the shell. Might want to look here: http://www.discoverlife.org/20/q?guide=Molluscs (it won't load for me tonight, though).

    3. If they hadn’t dried up in the sidewalk cracks, how did they get there?

    I'm not sure what you're asking. They could have died and dried up elsewhere, then (being much lighter) been blown by the wind into the sidewalk cracks.

    4. And how did the shells get made clear?

    The shells were always clear. It's just that it doesn't seem that way when there's an opaque mollusk body inside the shell, because the shell color and body color mix together. It's like how light human skin is translucent, and you can faintly see the blue blood vessels underneath, even though the vessels are not *in* the skin.

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