What is a snail?

   SNAIL is the name applied to many gastropod mullusks, but more especially to the terrestrial air-breathing gastropods (Pulmonata or Helicidae) and to the fresh-water gastropods such as the pond snails (Physa, Linnaea, etc.). The Pulmonata are gastropods with two pairs of tentacles, fitted to breathe air through a pallial cavity formed by the union of the front edge of the mantle with the neck region. The spiral shell is either well developed or in the slugs either vestigial or absent. The eyes are either at the base of the tentacles or situated at the end of the larger pair. Snails are mostly plant eaters or live on dead leaves, cutting their food by means of the long slender rasplike radula or "lingual ribbon". After passing through the cleavage, gastrula, and trochosphere stages a definite veliger stage is finally attained. Soon the definite molluscan characters are assumed.
   In many parts of Europe snails are a popu­lar delicacy, and snail gardens (escargoti√©res) are common in France and other countries. When snails are eaten directly after being collected, they may, from having fed on some poisonous matters, prove harmful. They should be fed in gardens before being eaten.