Snails are mollusks with hard, external shells. They travel along on a muscular foot that sometimes gets lifted as they move. Snail slime aids movement and helps these pests adhere to surfaces. Signs of snail-generated slime trails include:
Like snails, slugs are mollusks that move on a muscular foot, but slugs lack the hard external shells that snails have. Slug mucus helps these moisture-dependent pests stay lubricated and traverse surfaces. Signs of slugproduced slime trails include:
Photo credit: Andrew E. Larsen (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Snail and slug slime changes in viscosity and adhesion according to pressure from the pest's contracting foot. Add water to wet slime and you may have a bigger mess. Instead, wipe the slime with a disposable cloth or paper towel first. Then rinse the wiped area clean. For dried slime, use water and a broom or brush. Slugs and snails can carry pathogens, so always wear gloves and avoid direct contact with snails, slugs or their slime.