Examples of animals that eat snails include badgers, blackbirds, turtles, crows, and foxes.
It is no surprise then, that many animals have developed a taste for snails.
Snails are also the perfect food for some animals that don’t typically eat meat.
Examples of Animals that Eat Snails
Examples of Animals that Eat Snails
Scientific NameMeles melesType of AnimalMammalRangeGreat Plains region of North AmericaDietOmnivore
Badgers eat snails.
Snails are molluscs, which means that they have soft bodies and no bones.
They also produce slime to avoid predators like badgers.
Badgers are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and plants.
They mostly eat insects, earthworms, fruits, and vegetables, but they will also prey on small mammals like rabbits and birds.
Snails make up a very small part of their diet.
Scientific NameTurdus merulaType of AnimalBirdRangeEurope, North Africa, India, and southern ChinaDietOmnivore
Blackbirds are destructive of snails.
Some examples include the blackbird, redwinged blackbird and song thrush which have all been known to eat or feed on land-dwelling mollusks, especially slugs.
Snail shells are crushed between their strong beaks then they extract the soft body.
The birds often hunt snails by probing the ground with their beaks until they locate a snail hiding under leaves or in the soil.
Scientific NameAnguis fragilisType of AnimalAnnelidsRangewestern EuropeDietCarnivore
Blindworms, are some of the animals that eat snails.
Snails provide these animals with a great source of protein and minerals.
Blindworms in particular consume large numbers of snails, which helps to keep snail populations under control.
By eating snails, these animals help to maintain balance within their ecosystems.
Scientific NameTerrapeneType of AnimalReptileRangeUnited StatesDietOmnivore
The box turtle is a land-dwelling creature that feeds mainly on snails and other small invertebrates.
They have a hard shell that helps protect them from predators, and they can live for up to 100 years.
Scientific NameChilopodaType of AnimalChilopodaRangeWorldwideDietCarnivore
Centipedes are carnivores that eat other animals in order to survive.
These creatures have a long body, typically up to 12 inches which has many segments and move very fast by using one pair of legs for each segment.
Centipedes generally eat insects, but they have also been know to feast on earthworms, lizards, and other small animals.
Scientific NameCorvusType of AnimalBirdRangeWorldwideDietOmnivore
Crows,for example, are very good at spotting snails.
In the tropical rainforest there is a bird called the Bananaquit that eats insects and fruit but also loves to eat land snails.
Scientific NameLampyridaeType of AnimalInsectRangeWorldwideDietOmnivore
Fireflies eat snails, which is a good thing because they help control the snails’ population.
Scientific NameVulpesType of AnimalMammalRangeWorldwideDietOmnivore
Fox eat snails and other invertebrates.
Scientific NameAnuraType of AnimalReptileRangeWorldwideDietCarnivore
Frogs are known to be one of the most common animals that eat snails.
They are also able to use their sticky tongues for other things, such as catching flies or even pulling out snail shells from a plant.
Scientific NameCarabidaeType of AnimalInsectRangeWorldwideDietOmnivore
Ground beetles are predators that eat snails and other small invertebrates.
Ground beetles come in many different colors, but most of them are black or brown.
These insects have a hard exoskeleton that helps protect them from predators.
Ground beetles are beneficial to gardeners because they help keep other pests under control.
Scientific NameOpilionesType of AnimalArachnidRangeWorldwideDietCarnivore
They have eight legs like a spider, but their body is different.
Harvestmen eat mostly snails and insects.
Scientific NameErinaceinaeType of AnimalMammalRangeEurope, Asia, Africa and New ZealandDietOmnivore
Hedgehogs are generally known for their ability to catch and devour a wide range of prey, including earthworms, insects such as beetles and caterpillars ,and even baby birds.
The common or European hedgehog is often found in gardens where there is an abundance of snails.
Scientific NameMuscidaeType of AnimalInsectRangeEurope, Asia, and the non-tropical regions of AfricaDietOmnivore
Hornflies are a type of fly that feeds on the blood of cattle, horses, and other mammals.
Hornflies can be controlled with insecticides, but they can also be eaten by certain animals.
Birds such as swallows and blackbirds eat hornflies, as do some lizards, frogs, and toads.
Scientific NameLimax maximusType of AnimalGastropodsRangethe south and east of AustraliaDietCarnivore
Leopard Slugs are one of the most common animals that eat snails.
They are large slugs that have a brown and black spotted pattern on their body.
Scientific NameLacertiliaType of AnimalReptileRangeWorldwideDietCarnivore
There are many different types of lizards that eat snails.
These lizards have specially adapted mouths that allow them to pry open snail shells and extract the soft body inside.
They usually do not eat the shell itself.
Scientific NameMusType of AnimalMammalRangeWorldwideDietOmnivore
Mice are one of the animals that eat snails.
They are able to consume them because they have sharp teeth that can pierce the shells of snails.
Mice usually eat the snail’s meat, but they will also consume the snail’s shell if there is no other food available.
Snail shells provide important nutrients for mice, such as calcium and phosphorus.
Mice that consume snail shells are typically healthier than mice that do not consume them.
Snail shells also help protect the mice from predators.
Scientific NameTalpidaeType of AnimalMammalRangeWorldwideDietCarnivore
Moles consume large quantities of earthworms and snails.
Scientific NamePleurodelinaeType of AnimalReptileRangeNorth America, Europe, Asia and north AfricaDietCarnivore
They have long, slimy bodies and a flattened head that is well adapted to eating slugs, snails and even other newts.
They hunt in the water during the day but they usually live on land in damp woodlands near ponds or rivers.
On land, their skin secretes a sticky slime to help them climb up vertical surfaces or cling on rocks so they don’t fall into the water.
Scientific NameDidelphidaeType of AnimalMammalRangethe United States, Mexico, Central America, South America and CanadaDietOmnivore
The opossum is a small, grayish-white North American marsupial.
Opossums are omnivorous and eat a wide variety of things, including fruits, vegetables, insects, carrion, and snails.
One study found that opossums consume an average of 23 snails per day.
Opossums are an important part of the ecosystem and help keep snail populations in check.
Scientific NameRattusType of AnimalMammalRangeWorldwideDietOmnivore
There are many different types of snails out there though so it is important for people with pet rats or other pets to know which ones they can feed their creatures if they want them to avoid snail poisoning.
Scientific NameHelix pomatiaType of AnimalGastropodsRangesoutheast, west, east, north, and south of EuropeDietHerbivore
Roman Snails are known to be tough because they can withstand very cold temperatures.
The shell of a Roman Snail is brown and the snail itself varies between shades of dark purple, pink or blue with white spots around its body.
Scientific NameUrodelaType of AnimalReptileRangeNorth America, South America, Europe, Asia and Central AmericaDietCarnivore
Salamanders are small lizards that live on land.
Some salamanders will eat anything they come across while others only eat certain things like fruit or leaves.
One type of salamander called a red spotted newt prefers to hunt for its food by night so it can easily avoid predators.
These little amphibians will eat any type of snail they can find, including the invasive apple snails that have been causing problems in many parts of the world.
Scientific NameSoricidaeType of AnimalMammalRangeNorth AmericaDietCarnivore
Shrews are a type of mammal in the family Soricidae.
Shrews are small, with many different species that vary greatly in size from between 17mm and 38cm long.
These mammals are insectivores and their diet consists of a variety of different insects, including snails.
Scientific NameSerpentesType of AnimalReptileRangeWorldwideDietCarnivore
Snakes are one of the primary predators of snails.
There are many different species of snakes that eat snails, including the king cobra, the black mamba, and the bushmaster.
Scientific NamePasseriType of AnimalBirdRangeUnited StatesDietOmnivore
Songbirds mainly consume the soft parts of the snail such as the body and tentacles.
They also eat the eggs of snails.
Some songbird species that prey on snails are the American robin, dark-eyed junco, and white-throated sparrow.
Scientific NameBufonidaeType of AnimalReptileRangeWorldwideDietCarnivore
Some people believe that the toxins in a snail’s slime can be poisonous to these predators, but there is little scientific evidence to support this claim.
Toads in particular seem to love eating snails and will go out of their way to track them down.
Scientific NameMeleagris gallopavoType of AnimalBirdRangeUnited StatesDietOmnivore
Snails are a popular target for animals that eat snails.
Wild turkeys love to feast on wildflowers, slugs and smaller insect species as well as mice or other small rodents – but they will also go after larger prey items such as this too.
In fact, their main staple is acorns from oak trees which provide both protein and fat, but when these are scarce, turkeys will scavenge for other food sources.
This includes snails.
Snails are toward the bottom of the food chain.
They’re a slow, easy target for many small mammals, reptiles, and birds.
While they have a hard shell to help protect them from predators, many with long beaks and claws can get around the defenses to get their daily meal!
Living in South Africa I’ve had the pleasure of seeing most of these animals up close and personal.
There is thought to be over 43,000 species of snails in the world.
Despite many of them sharing the same features, they all have different diets, prefer different habitats, and come in unique shades.
Snails are adaptable animals that live almost all over the world.
Some snails can be found in your back garden, others live in the snow or in the desert, while some prefer to live up trees.
Most land snails only eat plant-based food because they are herbivores.
Other snails will eat only animal-based food, whilst many eat both plants and meat.
Some snails are edible to humans, and even considered a delicacy in some countries, but be careful as many species of snails are dangerous because they contain parasites.
The first snail is thought to have lived around 550 million years ago on the seafloor.
286 million years ago the sea snail evolved into a land snail and developed lungs for breathing.
How to Spot Different Types of Snail
When trying to identify the type of snail, the easiest method is to check it out closely.
Most snails will have a conical shaped shell.
The number of whorls persent on the shell can help you easily identify the snail species.
The profile of the whorls and their comparative size can also help determine the species.
Some types of snail shells are ventricose, others are very slender, whilst some have increasing whorls.
The texture of the shell and skin can also help determine what you are looking at.
If the apex (the tip of the shell) is pointed it’s an Achatina, if it’s blunt it’s an Archachatina.
The sutures (the ridges along the spiral groove) of an Archachatina is deeper than an Achatina shell.
Archachatina have much smaller and tighter-knit pores on the skin in comparison to Achatina snails.
Wetting the shell can help bring out the texture and the color.
16 Different Types of Snail
Giant African Land Snail
The giant African land snail is one of the largest snail species in the world.
It’s not a welcome snail, as it’s known to cause damage to crops and plants.
Giant African land snails have also been identified as a specific organism which transmits plant pathogens.
Giant African land snails have a distinctive, brown, tough shell that has the heaviest metal content of all snails.
They are herbivores, living off fruit, vegetables and sometimes even cardboard!
In some cases, this type of snail has been known to eat sand, stones and even other smaller snails.
On average, the Giant African land snail can live for between 5 and 7 years, yet some have been known to live for up to 10.
The giant African land snail measures about 2.75 inches in height and 7.87 inches in length.
Brown Lipped Snail
A brown lipped snail is very similar to a white lipped snail.
The main difference between the two lipped snails is that the brown-lipped snail has a brown band around the shell opening.
Despite the name, the shell comes in lots of different colors including yellow, brown, red, and pink.
Brown lipped snails are commonly found in Britain and feed on decayed plants.
They like to eat old nettles and buttercups, which means they are actually considered the friends of gardeners.
Although this land snail can be found in a range of habitats, it likes damp spots in gardens, hedges and grasslands.
Apple snails are a general term for larger freshwater snails.
They have stunning colors including, blue, gold, white and even tiger striped patterning.
Freshwater snails can grow up to 5.9 inches when cared for correctly.
Because of the size and color, they are frequently kept as pets, living in aquariums.
Apple snails feed on vegetables, brine shrimp, fish food pellets, dead fish, frozen foods and sometimes insects.
Although in the West they are considered pets, in Asia they are treated like pests because they climb out of the water and feed on crops.
Orchid snails get their name for being so small, yet so destructive to orchids in greenhouses.
The disc-like shell has a reddish-brown color, yet the animal inside has a blue-gray tone.
You will find the orchid snail living under pots, in greenhouses, under litter or in cultivated areas.
If you see this little snail near your plants, we advise moving it out.
Assassin snails are native to southeast Asia and are known to control the snail population in their area.
These carnivorous animals mainly feed on other snails but also eat dwarf shrimp.
They can be kept in aquariums as they don’t like to eat live plants or fish.
They will never eat other individuals of their own species.
Assassin snails prefer tropical monsoon climates and can be found in the rainforest.
They live in freshwater habitants, typically in locations with soft substrate like streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and reservoirs.
The rabbit snail is a popular freshwater breed that is named after its rabbit-like face.
They are an aquarium favorite because they have interesting, rough and wrinkled skin and a unique shade of shell.
Indigenous to Indonesia, they eat soft algae, dead plants, and detritus.
Rabbit snails are usually only 3-5 inches long when fully mature.
In captivity, rabbit snails can live somewhere between 1 and 3 years.
Pond snails are considered both valuable assets and extreme pests, depending on the situation.
These omnivorous snails live on algae, fish food and dead plants.
There are two main groups of pond snails, the main difference between them is that one breathes air through lungs and the other uses gills.
Pond snails enjoy all types of freshwater ponds, just as long as they can freely feed on plants and dead animals.
Roman snails are commonly known as escargot.
Native to Europe, this large snail is edible and considered a delicacy to some Europeans.
Roman snails have a shell that is creamy white or light brown.
About two-thirds of a Roman snail’s weight is its shell.
Their diet includes plants, vegetables, flowers, and fruits.
This type of snail prefers to live in temperate forests with humid weather but minimal rainfall.
Roman snails are active in late spring until around October.
Over the winter months, they hibernate and form a rigid calcium carbonate lid to close their shell.
Also known as a green garden snail, this green-colored land snail can grow up to 4.72 inches in length.
Native to Africa and Europe, they can be found living in rainforests.
The Mediterranean green snail has an herbivorous diet, feeding off crops, grasses, and leafy vegetables.
In the 1980s, this type of snail was found infesting over 350 hectares of suburban and market gardens.
The milk snail is a large, air-breathing animal that feeds on fruits and plants.
They come in a range of colors, but usually are light brown with dark lines that spiral along the shell.
They are considered a pest, as they can outcompete native snails and cause disruptions to gardens, allotments, and orchards.
Milk snails were once a staple in Mediterranean diets and Moroccan archaeological sites have shown that it was frequently eaten by prehistoric humans.
Generally only seen a night, they live in Mediterranean climates.
Mystery snails are probably the most popular aquarium snails.
The main reasons they are popular are because they have stunning, colorful shells and can clean up waste with ease.
They don’t eat living plants, just dead ones and will live happily alongside fish and shrimp.
Another reason mystery snails make fantastic pets is their peaceful personality.
Because they are so peaceful and can scare easily, try to keep them with other chilled out animals.
The common whelk is a big, edible marine snail with a red, white, or yellow shell.
The common whelk is carnivorous and feeds off worms, crustaceans and other mollusks.
Common whelks are the biggest sea snail, with a conical shell that can reach around 10cm in length.
The cream shell can be identified by the pattern of wavy folds.
When common whelk shells are empty, large hermit crabs often move in.
Candy Cane Snails
Candy cane snails are one of the most colorful gastropods.
They have a white, conical shaped shell with an adorable rainbow-colored stripy detail.
This type of snail can be found in the Caribbean and generally lives up trees.
There have even been instances of candy cane snails being found in the Florida Keys.
These little snails feed on moss, fungi and algae that can be found on tree bark.
Because of how beautiful the candy cane snail shell is, it has been over-collected in the shell trade which has made the snail almost endangered.
The Angustopila dominikae is famous for being the smallest snail in the world.
Its size is less than 0.03 inches (0.86mm) and has a gray colored shell.
This type of snail can be found in limestone caves and around cliffs.
This tiny snail is a new discovery, so very little is known about it.
The diminutive size keeps it safe and protected, especially as many animals like to eat snails.
While many other snails have evolved defenses through their tough shells, the Angustopila dominikae snail uses its size.
Nerite snails are a popular addition to aquariums because they eat algae, dead plants, and detritus.
This small snail comes in a range of stunning shades with unique patterns, including one with horns!
A small snail, they don’t eat live plants and their waste contains bacteria that is favorable for shrimps’ digestive tracts, making them a perfect addition to planted aquariums and shrimp tanks.
The have a shorter lifespan but can live up to 5 years when kept as a pet.
Manus Island Tree Snail
The Manus Island tree snail is often called the emerald green snail due to its beautiful bright green shell.
Found on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, it lives in trees and prefers a humid, rainforest environment.
Over-harvesting of this type of snail for commercial purposes and the logging of rain forests has led to a decline in the population.
The snail is protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and the species is listed in the IUCN Red List as near threatened.
Types of Snails: FAQs
What is the Difference Between Slugs and Snails?
Slugs and snails are very similar, but slugs generally have internal shells instead of shells found outside of their body.
The reason snails have external shells is due to evolution.
Another difference between slugs and snails is their behavior and habitat.
Slugs can squeeze their shell-less form into a range of different habitats that snails can’t reach like under tree barks or within logs on the ground.
Slugs can grow up to 15 inches, whilst snails can only grow to 10 inches.
Snails are more commonly kept as pets, which helps them have a longer lifespan in comparison to slugs.
Snails and slugs are both gastropods, which comes from the Greek words gastros (stomach) and podos (foot).
How do Snails Mate?
Most snails are hermaphrodites, which means they can be both be female and male.
Can I Keep Snails as Pets?
Yes, snails make excellent pets.
Even though snails are fine with humid conditions, they still need to breathe.
Snails like to hide in dark locations, although some breeds like to sit near the lid and others prefer to hide under the dirt.
The best thing to do is to provide lots of places for snails to hide.
Also, add other things to the set-up like plants, rocks, and twigs.
This makes the tank look pretty and gives the snail a more varied environment.
Research the type of snail you are getting before you set up your enclosure.
Every type of snail has a different habitat preference.
Some are friendly with other animals, others prefer to be with their own kind, whilst some species are incredibly aggressive.