We all know that snail travel is really, really slow, but are they really the slowest creature on our planet? And if they aren’t, what is? If you’ve ever wondered, how fast can snails move?, I’ve got all the juicy details — and some of them might just surprise you!
How Fast Can Snails Move?
According to experts, snails can travel a distance of one-tenth of an inch (0.28 cm) in one second. They use a muscular, slime-covered (mucus) foot, also known as the body, that sits beneath the protective shell.
Some sea snail species can move faster: half an inch per second (1.3 cm). That’s if it’s going pretty much flat-out. Pedal to the metal stuff, you know? The Lightning McQueen of snails, after drinking an energy drink.
How Fast Can a Garden Snail Travel?
According to the Guinness World Records, the fastest moving snail is the common garden snail, a land snail that is found all over the world. When put to the test on a miniature snail track, Verne the garden snail (yes, that’s the snail’s actual name) covered a distance of 12.2 inches (31 cm) in 2 minutes and 13 seconds.
As you can probably imagine, trying to monitor the top speeds of a gastropod that only manages to travel at a proverbial snail’s pace is quite difficult. You could definitely travel faster, though, even on your slowest of days!
Are Sea Snails Faster Than Land Snails?
Yes, sea snails are believed to move just a bit faster than their land-dwelling counterparts. They’re the ‘Lightning McQueen’s’ of the snail world, managing to travel at 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) per second through the water.
Snail Speed vs Human Speed Per Hour
For some human to snail travel comparison, if I were to walk to my local shop to buy some milk and sugar, it would take me 8 to 10 minutes to cover the 0.86-kilometre journey. The average human walks at 2.5 to 4 miles per hour. If I walked slowly and enjoyed the sights, it might take me 10 to 12 minutes. It all depends on how much energy I have that day.
If one of the garden snails from my back yard were to do that same journey, it would take them somewhere in the region of 9 hours to 10 hours — a literal snail’s pace. And that’s if they were constantly on-the-move, at a steady speed, without any breaks! Most snails can travel at around 0.02 miles per hour.
I probably wouldn’t rely on a garden snail to get you a quick bottle of milk in the morning, put it that way!
Snails vs Really Slow Animals
The slow loris, another super slow animal on our marvelous planet, crawls along at a speed of approximately 30 cm per second. That amounts to roughly 1.18 miles per hour.
The Southeast Asian primate would definitely win the little race against a 0.28 cm per second land snail!
Fun Fact*: Both slow lorises and snails move faster than your kid(s) when you’re trying to get them out the door for school in the morning.
Even the giant tortoise is faster than both land and sea snails, traveling at an average rate of 21 inches (53.7 cm) per second. That’s around 0.63 miles per hour.
*Not a genuine fun fact.