Why do so many snails appear on pavements? © Getty Images

Why do so many snails appear on pavements?

Surprisingly, snails are very picky about the paths they take, which explains why we only see our slimy friends on our pavements when it rains.

Asked by: Geoff Stevenson, Swansea


Snails find it much easier to move on wet surfaces than dry ones. In dry weather they will tend to avoid pavements, in favour of undergrowth, which retains moisture better. Once the pavement is wet though, this aversion is greatly reduced and snails can easily stray onto the edge of a pavement. Since there is nothing much to eat there and the bright light makes them more vulnerable to predators, they tend to keep going in a straight line, not realising that this will take them straight onto the road.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.