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The name snail applies to most members of the (Mollusca) Gastropoda class, but is usually only given to the small fresh-water and terrestrial species with coiled shells. It does not correspond with any part of the scientific taxonomical classification of molluscs beyond this general application.

Snails move like worms by alternating body contractions with stretching, with a proverbially low speed (hence the term snail mail for postal services). They produce a slime in order to aid locomotion by reducing friction. The slime also reduces the snail's risk of injury and helps keep away potentially dangerous insects like ants. In winter some snail species hibernate in their shells by closing the opening with a thin shell-like plate that they build only for this use and destroy in spring. Even some slug species build a shell-like object below their upper skin.

Snails are eaten in several countries of Europe, where they are considered a delicacy.

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