[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
IS furnished with four small horns; two of which are smaller than the others; at the end of those horns, which the animal pushes out or draws back, like telescopes, as most convenient to itself, are the eyes, which look like black spots, one upon each of see the horns, and it is probable that the extending or contracting these tubes is in proportion with the size or distance of the object which the animal wishes to see. The mouth is under the two smaller ones; and is armed with eight teeth, to enable him to devour leaves, and other vegetable substances, its ordinary food. The reproduction of the snail is most curious, and, in spite of all observations of naturalists, still enveloped in great obscurity. They are supposed to be reciprocally hermaphrodites; it is said also that they void their excrements by a kind of vent at the side of the neck. The snail carries his shell upon his back, and crawls up the damp walls, leaving a silvery tract behind. This animal is oviparous; we have observed the process of the eggs, which a water snail, kept in a bottle of water, had deposited against the glass; with the help of a magnifying lens, the young Snail was seen in the egg, with its embryo shell on its back; we observed also two in one egg, each of them with the rudiments of the shell.
The Slug is a Snail without shell, and resembles it in all other points, except that the brown skin of the back is rougher and stronger than in the Snail. There are several species of this creeping animal, but they are generally so well known that it would be useless to describe each of them here. They are an emblem of tardiness and slowness; and our immortal Shakespeare introduces the snail very appropriately in his description of the Seven Ages of Man; when he says,
“And then the whinning school-boy with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping, like snail,
Unwillingly to school. -”