Terrifying Fact: Snails Have Thousands of Teeth

iStock.com/Yousef-Abuaisheh
iStock.com/Yousef-Abuaisheh

Snails are hardly the dull creatures they're often made out to be. They may be slow, but there are species of snails that can thrive in harsh environments, paralyze their prey, and have sex by harpooning their partners with love darts. If all that isn't enough to impress you, take a peek inside a snail's mouth if you ever get the opportunity: You'll find rows and rows of sharp chompers, making up thousands of snail teeth all together, according to NPR.

Snails are packing dozens of rows of pearly whites, with a single snail boasting anywhere between 2000 and 15,000 teeth between its jaws. Up close, the inside of a snail's mouth looks like it's lined with Velcro. The snail teeth hook inward, making it easy for the animal to latch onto its meal and slide it down its gullet.

Teeth on snail tongue,
L. P. van Ofwegen, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

The sheer number of teeth it has isn't the only thing that makes a snail's smile terrifying. The mollusk cycles through teeth like a shark does, with new rows growing in the back of the mouth and gradually moving forward to bump out the worn teeth up front. Together these rows make something called a radula, a tongue-like pad the snail uses to snag food by extending it out of its mouth, xenomorph-style. Of all snail varieties, limpets—a small type of sea snail—may be the most dentally gifted: Their teeth are made from protein reinforced by fine mineral nanofibers called goethite, and according to one study, they're even stronger than spider silk, potentially making them the toughest biological material on Earth.

One source of comfort here is that snail teeth are also tiny: A single limpet tooth is slimmer than a human hair. That means a vicious snail on the loose likely can't do you much harm—unless maybe you're a piece of grass.

[h/t NPR]

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Reason Your Dog Follows You Everywhere

Crew, Unsplash
Crew, Unsplash

Depending on your mood, a dog that follows you everywhere can be annoying or adorable. The behavior is also confusing if you're not an expert on pet behavior. So what is it about the canine companions in our lives that makes them stick by our sides at all times?

Most experts agree on a few different reasons why some dogs are clingy around their owners. One is their pack mentality. Dogs may have been domesticated thousands of years ago, but they still consider themselves to be part of a group like their wild ancestors. When there are no other dogs around, their human family becomes their pack. According to Reader's Digest, this genetic instinct is also what motivates dogs to watch you closely and seek out your physical touch.

The second reason for the behavior has to do with the bond between you and your pet. As veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack told the American Kennel Club, puppies as old as 6 months can imprint on their human owners like they would their own mothers. Even older dogs will bond with the humans in their lives who show them care and affection. In these cases, a dog will shadow its owner because it sees them as an object of trust and security.

The last possible explanation for why your dog follows you has more to do with your treatment of them than their natural instincts. A popular training tactic is positive reinforcement—i.e. rewarding a dog with treats, pets, and praise when they perform positive behaviors. The point is to help your dog associate good behaviors with rewards, but after a while, they may start to associate your presence with rewards as well. That means if your dog is following you, they may be looking for treats or attention.

A clingy dog may be annoying, but it usually isn't a sign of a larger problem. If anything, it means your dog sees you in a positive light. So enjoy the extra companionship, and don't be afraid to close the door behind when you need some alone time.