What Eats Snails?

ant and beetle eating snail

Snails have high nutrition value. So while human eats snails (typically known as escargot), they have other predators that eat snails as part of their normal eating diet. Unfortunately, in most cases, their shell isn’t strong enough to protect them.

What eats snails depends on the type of snail and its location. Different types of snails will attract different types of predators, as you might expect. Land snails, such as garden snails, will, of course, attract land and air-based predators. Sea snails, on the other hand, are prey for sea-based predators.

In addition, as they live all over the world, different habitat has different dangers.

What Eats Land Snails?

As you can probably imagine, snails and slugs are at a bit of a disadvantage. They are incredibly slow compared to the many predators they’ll encounter on land. Not even a hardened shell will help in the case of stronger and larger predators along the food chain.

Some of the insects that eat snails are:

  • Beetles and larvae, such as ground beetles
  • Caterpillars and larvae
  • Centipedes
  • Fireflies
  • Flies, such as the aptly named snail killing flies, and marsh flies
  • Leeches
  • Millipedes
  • Mites
  • Nematodes
  • Spiders, such as cobweb spiders and New Zealand funnel web spiders

Insects aren’t the only enemy of the gastropod, though. The following are other predators that a snail might come up against in the big, bad, wild world:

  • Blackbirds
  • Frogs
  • Mice
  • Snakes
  • Rats
  • Salamanders
  • Squirrels
  • Toads
  • Turkeys (wild)
  • Turtles
  • Weasels
  • Other small mammals
rat eating

What Are Saltwater Snail Predators?

Just as on land, sea snails are food for a wide assortment of predators, including birds and reptiles, fish, amphibians, and even some octopuses and other marine invertebrates.

It is the eggs of saltwater or sea snails that are preyed on more than anything else; although, there are plenty of fish, birds, starfish, octopuses and more that wouldn’t turn down a gastropod-shaped treat, if the opportunity presented itself.

Snail eggs float, much in the same way that zooplankton floats. Fish and other marine life consume the eggs almost by accident, believing them to be plankton. Sprats, sardines, herrings, and plenty of other fish will eat snail eggs in this manner.

What Eats Freshwater Snails?

Quite a few snail predators enjoy chomping down on freshwater snails (also commonly referred to as pond snails) and their eggs. Fish, such as goldfish and catfish, eat freshwater snails, alongside gourami, Bala sharks, Betta fish, certain puffer species, clown and yoyo loaches and more.

These fish in a tank won’t eat snails alone, but they will prey on them if the opportunity presents itself, or if there isn’t enough food to sustain all tank inhabitants.

In the ‘wild’, crabs are one of the biggest threats to freshwater gastropods. Certain species of crab are known for a diet that consists of almost entirely snails. It’s as if their strong claws were designed for crushing and breaking into the shells of the slimy invertebrate.

Do Snails Eat Snails?

Yes, some snails and slugs do eat snails. They can and do eat each other, which makes them cannibals. They even eat their un hatched eggs as a source of food.

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