Welcome to You Ask Andy

Barbara Shaffer, age 13, of Williamspor , Penna, for her question:

How do snails get their shells?

Every snail begins life as an egg. Young Pokey hatches out as a perfect miniature copy of his parents. He is just big enough to be seen and almost colorless. But you can detect the small bump which will grow into a shc;llo The shell will grow as he grows. It is his house and as he needs more room, he simply adds a new coil at the open end of the graceful little turret.

The snail carries his house on his back because it is fixed there. It is formed by material which oozes out from special cells in the skin of his back. The oozy stuff dries into crisp, fragile shell. It goes on growing throughout the life of the snail.

In dry weather, which snails cannot abide, Mr. Pokey can crawl inside and shut his door. He covers over the opening of his shell with some more oozy material which dries into a papery door. Inside, Mr. Pokey is fast asleep saving his moisture to keep his soft skin properly damp, Warm rain drops will patter on his roof to wake him up in time to enjoy the next wonderful shower.


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