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Swimming Snails!

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Breaking news from Squirt! Did you know there are snails that can swim? Heteropods are swimming snails!


While most heteropods are small, some heteropods can grow as big as half a meter in length. That's about as long as a pillow. That's a HUGE snail! Some heteropod species have a coiled clear shell while other species do not have a shell. Just like land snails, heteropods with shells can pull themselves inside the shell for protection. Check out the snail with a shell below. The heteropods without shells have nowhere to hide, but they can swim really fast! Being able to swim fast is good for the snails because they are active predators. Predators are animals that hunt other animals for food. An example of a land predator is a lion. Lions hunt gazelles for food. Heteropods hunt prey like worms, jellyfish, and even other snails.

The tongue of a heteropod is covered with teeth. That's really neat! These teeth are used to grab and tear up the prey caught by a heteropod. Sometimes heteropods are called "sea elephants." This is because they have a trunk-like proboscis near their mouths. A proboscis is a long body part that is attached to the head of an animal. Doesn't the proboscis look like a trunk?

I never knew snails could swim. I'm learning so much from the DEEPEND scientists.

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Tagged in: kids blog Squirt
Denise is a science education researcher with a strong background in the biological sciences as well as teaching and learning. She holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from The University of Tennessee Knoxville. Denise currently uses her expertise in her position as a laboratory coordinator for general education and majors Biology courses at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Denise takes a scientific approach to her research in order to attain a better understanding of teaching and learning in the biological sciences at all grade levels. She uses her research to drive curriculum development projects for K-12 and higher education instruction. In addition to her science education research Denise conducts biological research studies both in the laboratory and field setting (e.g., biodiversity inventories and genome sequencing). Denise is passionate about sharing her fascination of science and the natural world and as a result she is involved in many public education outreach endeavors.
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