MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Why do snails melt when you dump salt on them?

Area: Zoology
Posted By: Bruce Woodin, Staff Biology. Woods Hole
Date: Wed Jul 30 09:01:16 1997
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 869087865.Zo
Amber Marie,

	Snails "melt" when you pour salt on them because the water in their
cells is leaving to balance the salt.  This is an osmotic process which 
occurs across semipermeable membranes like those surrounding the cells of 
animals and plants.  This loss of water and resulting "melting" happens 
with cells of many organisms (including plants, which lose their rigidity 
in salt water).  Most animals which are adapted to living in fresh water 
are "Saltophobics" (not truly a fetish).  

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