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Can Certain Snails Really Sleep for 3 Years? 

Let’s Learn Exactly How Some Snails Sleep

At first glance, you may not assume that land snails live very fascinating lives. However, these gastropods live quite unique lifestyles. These animals are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs. They have no sense of hearing, and salt is potentially toxic for them. However, one of the most interesting aspects of their life is how they sleep. Exactly, how long can certain snails sleep for? You may be surprised by the answer. 

How Long Can Snails Sleep?

Certain land snails can sleep for up to three years in hibernation or estivation. Yes, it’s true!  Although this extended nap may sound appealing at first, it is actually caused by less-than-ideal conditions. 

Why Do Snails Sleep So Long?

Snails need moisture to survive; so if the weather is not cooperating, they can actually sleep up to three years. It has been reported that depending on geography, snails can shift into hibernation (which occurs in the winter), or estivation (also known as ‘summer sleep’), helping to escape warm climates. During this time, the snails will secrete mucus over their bodies to protect themselves from the dry, hot weather. As glamorous as it may sound, snails don’t always sleep for three years in their own mucus. When the weather is just right, snails do tend to follow a pretty regular sleeping schedule.  

Does A Snails Sleep Schedule Differ From Humans?

Unlike humans, snails don’t abide by the rules of night and day. Generally, snails will sleep on and off in between periods of 13 to 15 hours. Afterwards, they experience a sudden jolt of energy for the next 30 hours, where they get all their snail chores done! 

How Can You Tell If a Snail Is Asleep?

It can be pretty tough to determine whether or not a snail is sleeping, considering they don’t show any obvious signs such as having their eyes closed or snoring. However, there are still a few simple ways that can help you tell whether or not a snail is sleeping:

  • The shell may hang away from their body slightly
  • Relaxed foot
  • Tentacles appear withdrawn a little 

It may be easy to assume that the gastropod is dead, but don’t jump to conclusions when you see an immobile snail in the garden — it may just be taking a power nap. 

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