The Mystery Snail and its Amazing Abilities.

The Mystery Snail and its Amazing Abilities.

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The mystery snail is unique, slow, and mostly prefers to keep all its secrets to itself. However, we’ve all learned much about them out of curiosity; frankly, it’s given us a lot to relish. The mystery snail has numerous exciting abilities, from its uncanny prowess to breathe air without reaching the surface to maintaining the correct aquarium colors. This article offers insight into the mystery snail and its exceptional abilities to help you understand them better. 

What Is the Mystery Snail?

The mystery snail (Pomacea bridgesii) is one of the sought-after aquarium species in the Ampullarridae family. It’s native to South and North America and naturally lives in freshwater ecosystems such as lakes, ponds, ditches, and slow-moving rivers and streams.

This peace-loving invertebrate shares similar streaks with slugs and squids and can live up to two years. The critter is mainly a natural aquarium cleanser, feasting on the algae that accumulate over time. However, it’s known for its nagging ability to clog pipes and water lines if it creeps into pipes and drains. 

jade mystery snail

What Makes the Mystery Snail Unique

Unlike most snail species, the mystery snail has quite a unique appearance, intriguing habits, and peaceful temperament. These little guys are also fun to watch, especially in freshwater aquariums, as they snack on algae, extend their tubular organs, and move around the space. These freshwater creatures are also mild and love to keep to themselves, making them ideal tank mates for virtually every docile aquarium creature. What’s more intriguing is that these critters possess a few exciting abilities to make them exceptional in domesticated and wild habitats. 

The Fantastic Abilities of the Mystery Snails

The mystery snail has a few fantastic abilities that make them ideal home pets. However, they also use these abilities to keep them safe from predators and make life better for their sluggish nature. Here are the fantastic abilities of the mystery snail that will excite you to the core. 

  • The Ability to Breathe Using Gills and Lungs

Snails are mollusks and can survive on land and in water. However, most species don’t have the natural ability to draw air from water directly, but the mystery snail. This snail has two breathing mechanisms: gills and lungs. This ability will adapt them to live comfortably in oxygen-deprived waters, unlike other snail species.

They have a snorkeling tube that extends to the surface to draw oxygen and can retract to about an inch when not in use. That helps prevent predator attacks, especially from birds, squirrels, and shrews, among numerous others. Their gills also help them breathe in oxygen-deficient waters, enabling them to stay underwater for the best of their lives. 

snail system

Mystery snails feed on algae since it’s usually soft to chew and easily digestible. However, they also savor other freshwater aquatic plants in their natural habitats, especially if the foliage is soft and chewable. They’re sought after in most freshwater aquariums since they usually help eliminate the oxygen-depriving algae. Their mouthparts are too supple to bite and tear rigid material, making biofilm and algae a significant part of their diet. Most aquarium hobbyists find these critters more helpful, especially if paired with other aquarium pairs that don’t feed on algae. 

snail cleaning aquarium glass
  • The Ability to Change Sex

Very few creatures can temporarily change their sexes when they need to. And mystery snails have set sexes, especially as they approach the mating stages. That’s not to say that these animals are hermaphroditic, but they can change their sex identity whenever they want to! It’s not always something they practically do on a typical day, but when the environment coerces them. They usually do it when they don’t feel so comfortable with their surroundings, especially if the water quality is low. 

Unlike most snail species, the mystery snail has quite a unique appearance, intriguing habits, and peaceful temperament. These little guys are also fun to watch, especially in freshwater aquariums, as they snack on algae, extend their tubular organs, and move around the space.

The process can take quite some time, mainly hours or a few days, and doesn’t happen at once. However, they don’t usually change their gender since a male mystery snail remains, only with their testes becoming tinier, darker, and less pronounced than their female gonads. Note that a female mystery snail will still need a male to fertilize the eggs since they don’t reproduce asexually internally.

yellow mystery snail
  • Ability to Induce a Buoyancy

Mystery snails can use the air they breathe to their advantage as it helps them resurface and drop to the bottom of water pools and aquariums. As you already know, these little animals don’t have fins to facilitate vertical movement. Therefore, they change their body density by inhaling air to reach the water surface and exhale it if they need to get to the bottom quickly.

This behavior mostly comes handy when escaping predators, including rodents and birds, above the water surface. These snails can inflate their elastic lungs to hold sufficient air that takes them to the surface. However, their vertical upward movement is usually more steady than when they drop to the bottom, which happens in less than a few seconds. 

  • Ability to Protect Their Eggs Above the Water

Mystery snails usually lay their eggs above the water surface and rarely inside. Especially so, this behavior is standard for the snails that stay with other aquarium fish or in the wild where fish and other aquatic animals may snack on them. Typically, they climb on reeds and sturdy plant foliage to deposit their fertilized eggs. These eggs only need a little moisture to hatch, which is always available in most aquatic environments.

For most freshwater aquariums, it’s pretty easy for aquarium owners to manage these eggs by constantly moistening them. However, this help is not always available in the wild, and the female snail will occasionally hover over them to keep them moist. 


The mystery snail is quite an exciting creature and more fun to have around in aquariums than in the wild. They have a few uncanny abilities that no other animals display, making them quite exceptional. With their set sexes, they can alter their sexes without changing their gender.

Besides, these critters have both lungs and gills and can vertically relocate without moving a muscle. Hopefully, these few mystery snails’ incredible abilities will inform you better and excite you, giving you a much more varied perspective!

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