What Eats Snails? ALL You Need To Know (2023)

What Eats Snails

This Article Was Written By Israel Olaniran Reviewed By Dr Jenna Fred.

Last Updated on July 3, 2023 by israel olaniran

Snails are fascinating creatures that inhabit various environments around the world. While they have an important ecological role, controlling their population in certain areas can be challenging. In this article, we will explore the predators that feed on snails and the strategies to attract them for natural population control.

Read: Do Snails have Eyes?

What Eats Snails?

Snails are a food source for a variety of animals across different habitats. Birds such as thrushes, blackbirds, and starlings prey on snails, using their beaks to extract them from their shells. Mammals like hedgehogs, shrews, and moles also feed on snails, while amphibians such as frogs and toads catch and consume them with their sticky tongues.

Insects like ground beetles, rove beetles, and fireflies scavenge on snails, and certain fish species, including loaches and pufferfish, have developed specialized adaptations to crush and consume snails.

Additionally, reptiles like skinks, aquatic predators like turtles, and water birds like herons and ducks contribute to snail population control in their respective ecosystems.

Read: Do praying mantis fly?

Ground BeetlesInsects
Rove BeetlesInsects
TurtlesAquatic Reptiles
HeronsWater Birds
DucksWater Birds

The Role of Predators in Snail Population Control

Predators are an essential part of any ecosystem, as they help regulate the population of prey species. In the case of snails, predators play a crucial role in controlling their numbers and preventing excessive damage to vegetation. By feeding on snails, predators help maintain a healthy balance and prevent snail outbreaks.


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Natural Predators of Snails


Many bird species include snails in their diet. Thrushes, blackbirds, and starlings are known to feed on snails, especially during the breeding season when they require additional protein for their growing chicks. Birds use their sharp beaks to extract snails from their shells, and some species even use stones or hard surfaces to break the shells open.


Several mammals also feed on snails. Hedgehogs are particularly fond of snails and slugs, often hunting them in gardens and other grassy areas. Other mammals that eat snails include shrews, moles, and some rodents. These small mammals use their sharp teeth and long tongues to extract snails from their shells.

Amphibians and Reptiles

Amphibians and reptiles are natural predators of snails. Frogs and toads, with their long sticky tongues, are capable of catching and consuming small snails. Some lizard species, such as skinks, also feed on snails and slugs, helping to control their populations in certain habitats.


Insects contribute to snail population control as well. Ground beetles and rove beetles are known to prey on snails, particularly the young and smaller individuals. Some species of ants and beetles also scavenge on snail eggs and young hatchlings.

Snail-Eating Fish

In aquatic environments, fish play a vital role in controlling snail populations. Some fish species, like loaches and pufferfish, have a strong affinity for snails. These fish have specialized mouthparts or teeth that allow them to crush and consume snails efficiently. By introducing snail-eating fish into ponds or aquariums, one can help keep snail populations under control.

Other Aquatic Predators

Apart from fish, various other aquatic organisms prey on snails. Turtles, for example, feed on both land and aquatic snails, providing a natural check on their populations. Additionally, water birds such as herons and ducks consume snails found in ponds, lakes, and wetland areas.

Garden Pests that Prey on Snails

In gardens, certain pests can actually be beneficial when it comes to controlling snails. For example, beetles like ground beetles, rove beetles, and fireflies are known to feed on snails. These beetles are attracted to gardens that provide suitable habitats, such as areas with leaf litter or dense vegetation.

Strategies to Attract Snail-Eating Predators

To encourage the presence of snail-eating predators in your garden or natural areas, you can employ a few strategies:

Birdhouses and Feeders

Installing birdhouses and bird feeders can attract bird species that consume snails. Birds need appropriate nesting sites and a reliable food source, so providing them with these amenities can encourage them to frequent your garden and help control snail populations.

Creating a Wildlife-Friendly Garden

Designing a garden that attracts a diverse range of wildlife can indirectly attract snail predators. Incorporate elements such as water features, native plants, and rock piles to create habitats that support a variety of predator species.

Biological Control of Snails

Apart from natural predators, biological control methods can also be used to manage snail populations. This involves introducing specific predators or parasites that are natural enemies of snails. For example, certain nematodes, predatory snails, or even ducks can be introduced to control snails in specific environments.

What Eats Snails
What Eats Snails? Image by Ralph from Pixabay

Final Thoughts On What Eats Snails?

Snails are an important part of ecosystems, but their populations can sometimes become problematic. To maintain a balance, various predators prey on snails, including birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, fish, and other aquatic organisms. By understanding the natural enemies of snails and implementing strategies to attract them, we can achieve natural population control without relying on harmful pesticides.


Are snails defenseless against predators?

Snails have evolved various defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators, such as retractable tentacles, a hard shell, and the ability to retreat into their shells when threatened. However, many predators have adapted to overcome these defenses.

Can snails cause damage to gardens?

Snails can be both beneficial and detrimental to gardens. While they aid in nutrient cycling and decomposition, excessive snail populations can cause damage to plants by feeding on leaves, stems, and fruits.

Are all snails edible for predators?

Not all snail species are equally palatable or accessible to predators. Some snails have thicker shells or produce toxic substances, making them less desirable for consumption.

Can snail predators be harmful to humans or pets?

In general, the predators that prey on snails do not pose a threat to humans or pets. However, it’s always wise to exercise caution and avoid direct contact with unfamiliar wildlife.

What should I do if I have an overpopulation of snails in my garden?

If you’re facing an overpopulation of snails in your garden, you can implement strategies such as attracting snail-eating predators, manually removing snails, or using organic methods like beer traps or copper barriers to deter them.

What animals eat snails?

Several animals eat snails, including birds (such as thrushes, blackbirds, and starlings), mammals (like hedgehogs, shrews, and moles), amphibians (such as frogs and toads), reptiles (like skinks), insects (such as ground beetles and rove beetles), fish (including loaches and pufferfish), and certain water birds like herons and ducks.

What kills snails?

Snails can be killed by natural predators that feed on them, such as birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and fish. Additionally, environmental factors like extreme temperatures, drought, or lack of suitable habitat can also impact snail populations.

What is eating snail?

Various animals eat snails as part of their diet. This includes birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and fish. They consume snails either by extracting them from their shells or by crushing the shells to access the soft body inside.

What eats snails out of their shell?

Animals such as birds, mammals, reptiles, and certain insects have adaptations to eat snails out of their shells. They can either use their beaks, teeth, or tongues to extract the snails or crush the shells to access the snail’s body.

Do squirrels eat snails?

While squirrels are primarily known for their diet consisting of nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetation, they are not typically considered significant predators of snails. Squirrels are more likely to focus on plant-based food sources rather than snails.

What birds eat snails?

Several bird species eat snails, including thrushes, blackbirds, starlings, and certain species of water birds such as herons and ducks. These birds have adaptations like sharp beaks or specialized feeding behaviors to consume snails.

Do birds eat snails?

Yes, many bird species do eat snails. Birds like thrushes, blackbirds, starlings, and various water birds have been observed preying on snails as a part of their diet.

What eats slugs?

Slugs are also consumed by a variety of animals. Some predators that eat slugs include birds (such as thrushes and ducks), mammals (like hedgehogs and shrews), amphibians (such as frogs and toads), and certain insects and beetles.

What eats a snail in the rainforest?

In the rainforest, snails can be preyed upon by a range of animals. This includes various bird species, such as toucans and hornbills, mammals like primates and small rodents, reptiles such as lizards and snakes, and even amphibians like tree frogs.

Do rats eat snails?

Rats are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders, so while they may eat snails on occasion, it is not a primary part of their diet. Rats are more inclined to consume plant-based food, grains, fruits, and protein sources like insects or small animals.

How do snails protect themselves from predators?

Snails have several defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators. They can retreat into their shells and seal the opening with a calcareous “door” called an operculum. Some snails also have a thick, robust shell that provides physical protection. Additionally, certain species of snails secrete a mucus trail that can deter predators or make it difficult for them to move across.

Do fish eat snails?

yes, many fish species eat snails. Some fish, such as loaches and pufferfish, have specialized adaptations like crushing teeth or strong jaws to consume snails efficiently. Fish can play an important role in controlling snail populations in aquatic environments.


  • israel olaniran

    Israel Olaniran is an accomplished animal content writer with five years of expertise in creating engaging and educational material about cats, dogs, and other animals. When he's not writing, he dedicates his time to caring for his beloved four-year-old rescue puppy. Israel's work has been featured in renowned publications like "Pethouse," and he actively collaborates with local animal shelters and rescue organizations to raise awareness about their important work. His vast knowledge in animal care and ownership, as well as his up-to-date understanding of various breeds, making him a trusted source for global readers seeking reliable pet content.

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