How Long Does A Snail Sleep?

How long does a snail sleep

This is a question that you have probably never thought about! Snails are very interesting creatures with a lot of ‘did you know” characteristics beginning with their sleeping habits to how they reproduce. Like every animal, snails need sleep to rest and replenish energy, however, it is the duration it sleeps that is fascinating. So, how long does a snail sleep?

There are studies that show that snails rest mainly during the day sleeping for almost 13 to 15 hours after which they wake up to an active period of up to 30 hours. Mind boggling numbers but more surprises with snail sleeping habits await you!

When the weather is unfavorable, too cold or too hot for their survival, snails revert to sleep mode which can take a very long time indeed. Snails thrive in moist weather which is moist and optimal for their sustenance of body slime without which they cannot survive. Some desert snails have slept to their death, just to give you an idea of how long they sleep.

So, how long does a snail sleep
So, how long does a snail sleep

Survival features of snails

  • The shell opening is covered with slime which block out air which can dry them out.
  • Snails are mostly nocturnal to avoid daytime heat and light which can burn them.
  • Snails are hermaphrodites which means they can reproduce without a mate.

Snail survival depends on how moist the environment is. Moisture is critical for their survival that is why you will mostly see them when it is moist. There sleep patterns are also in tandem with the weather or moisture conditions around them, going into long or short spells of sleep accordingly.

Fascinating facts about snails

There are so many interesting things about snails that you may not know about and that are sure to leave you surprised. After reading this, you will find that the question “How long does a snail sleep” to be the least interesting about this gastropod.

Snails belong to the Mollusk family which comprises over 200,000 species and together with slugs, they are referred to as gastropods.

  • Habitat

Snails are present in every one of the six continents which gives you an idea of how expansive and varied their habitat is and how the different types of snails have adapted to survive in the different environments they are in, with different climates, temperatures and other conditions. There are even desert snails, which by the way, still require optimal moisture to survive.

  • Feeding

What do snail eat? Well, mostly plants, at least the garden snail which most of us are familiar with and the only ones that most of us will ever come across. However, there are carnivorous and omnivorous snails just like us humans!

  • Shells

Snails are born with shells which happens to a very important part of their body and is an organ in the sense of growing along with them. When they hatch, the shell is thin and translucent and strengthens and grows as they get bigger and young snails instinctively eat their eggshells, the calcium which helps to stimulate the growth of the shell on their back.

  • Hibernation and Sleep

Snail hibernation and sleep go hand in hand and are mostly active when there is sufficient moisture in the environment to assure their wellbeing. Accordingly, they hibernate and sleep based on the prevailing weather conditions.

Snail hibernate and sleep based on the prevailing weather conditions
Snail hibernate and sleep based on the prevailing weather conditions

Averagely, snails sleep for two to three days followed by about thirty active hours unlike our 24-hour sleep and activity cycle. Not all snails will hibernate for three years- long periods of hibernation and sleep are only common with snails in extreme environments especially the hot desert, which will hibernate and sleep until it is favorable.

  • Estivation

So, how do they survive for so long in hibernation? How about the moisture which is so critical for their survival?

Well, snails go into something referred to as estivation which involves sealing themselves from outside conditions in a layer of mucous, after burrowing and curling themselves into their shells. This is the height of snail sleep comfort, like you sleeping on the best futon mattress!

Because they cannot drink water when they hibernate, estivation keeps them moist and prevents death.

  • Hermaphrodites

Snail do not have sex for reproduction because they are hermaphrodites- each one has both male and female sex organs. However, they only mate for egg laying purpose so that fertilized eggs are carried and laid by a healthier, stronger individual.

  • Sight no Hearing

Snails can see but do not have the ability to hear. In additions to sight, snails have other sensory features to help them feel and familiarize themselves with the environment.

  • Heat and Sunlight

Snails do not like and avoid sunlight because of the burning heat which is dangerous as far as their body moisture conservation is concerned. Seldom will you find snail active in hot sunny weather and that is why they are nocturnal creatures.

Snails do not like and avoid sunlight
Snails do not like and avoid sunlight
  • Microscopic to Giant Sizes

Snail species come in a variety of fascinating sizes from microscopic snails to giant sizes which can grow shells of up to 30 inches in some sea species.

  • Salt Kills

Salt kills snails almost instantly because it dries their body moisture. You may have noticed that people often use salt to kill snails in their gardens or backyards.


Snails are fascinating creatures with great survival abilities and features. With so many snails around the world, on land, sea, fresh water, and desert; the thousands of species of this mollusk family are cumulatively putting in a lot of sleep time. Can you imagine if human being had such long sleep hours?

Well, snails can sleep for up to 3 years at a time which is incredible and is achievable because they often go into hibernation. Considering that the average age of a snail is fifteen years, that is a long time.

Now you have a lot of facts about snail that you have never heard of before and even the answer to your question “How long does a snail sleep?”

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