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Snail's pace revealed in Exeter study

Scientists examined the habits of 450 garden snails recording their movements. Credit: Be Lungworm Aware/PA

Snails can explore the length of an average British garden in a single night, reaching a top speed of one metre per hour, according to researchers from the University of Exeter.

Scientists examined the habits of 450 garden snails recording their movements using LED lights, UV paints and time-lapse photography.

The findings revealed how snails will travel distances of up to 25 metres in a 24-hour period, and seek out areas of shelter, such as long grass, trees or objects, including dogs' toys, left in the garden overnight.

Researchers also discovered snails move in convoys, piggy-backing on the slime of other snails to conserve energy.

The study was commissioned as a resource for dog owners, whose pets are at risk from a potentially fatal parasite spread by slugs and snails, the lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum.

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