What do snails eat?

Many people overlook the existence of snails, small animals that move slowly in the garden or that can be found in marine environments. These mollusks are characterized by having a shell and leaving behind a kind of slime that they use to move around.

¿How much do you know about them? If you are interested in knowing them, you should know what their diet consists of. If you have wondered what do snails eat, then you can't miss this AnimalWised article. ¡Read on to find out everything about snail feeding!

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  1. Types of snails
  2. Where do snails live?
  3. What do sea snails eat?
  4. What do land snails eat?
  5. What do freshwater snails eat?
  6. How do snails eat if they don't have teeth?
  7. What do snails drink?
  8. How to care for a snail?

Types of snails

Before telling you what snails eat, you need to know the different types of snails that exist. We can classify them according to the type of habitat in which they live:

Land snails

Land snails are characterized by using a kind of "mucus " or "slime " to scroll, that helps them climb sloping or rough surfaces. In addition, they have a shell that covers most of their body, which allows them to hide from predators.

In addition, these types of snails have two pairs of retractable tentacles: one is provided with eyes, while the others allow him to feel the objects that are around him. Land snails are hermaphrodites, however, they cannot self-fertilize, so they must copulate to reproduce.

Freshwater snails

This type of mollusk has managed to colonize puddles, lakes, ponds and rivers around the world, since there are more than 4,000 species. Like land snails, freshwater snails are hermaphrodites, however, in this case the reproduction of snails surprises us, because in this case they are capable of fertilize your own eggs. The life expectancy of freshwater snails is approximately one year, but there are specimens that live up to five years.

Sea snails

The types of sea snails they live in salty waters and are characterized by the presence of a large shell rolled in a spiral, which has an opening that gives way to the white body of the specimen. Regarding their taxonomy, they present similar characteristics to the other types of snails, however, they can have small differences in size or colors. A curious fact about sea snails is that their shell has been used since ancient times as a musical wind instrument, similar to a trumpet..

Where do snails live?

As you have discovered, there are many types of snails distributed worldwide, Therefore, they inhabit different ecosystems, from areas with hot climates and deserts, to high and cold mountain areas. However, ¿where do snails live exactly?

Land species usually live in human-populated areas, in addition to living in forests and areas with a lot of vegetation. It is easy to observe them on cloudy days, since they are not usually exposed to the sun's rays for a long time. They prefer to hide in the ground, but that does not mean they remain inactive, since they move in search of food.

As for sea snails, they inhabit oceans and seas around the world. There are species that live near the shores, while others prefer areas to more than a thousand meters deep. Freshwater snails, meanwhile, are found in rivers, lakes and lagoons around the world, although they prefer warmer and more humid areas. In these places, it is very common to observe them next to the rocks.

What do sea snails eat?

Like all living things, snails need to feed to survive. Marine species have a varied diet, so there are snails that are herbivorous animals, while others consume different species of animals, thus becoming omnivores or carnivores.

¿Do sea snails eat? In general, they feed on plankton, a microscopic organism present in water. Other species ingest debris found on the seabed, while others consume algae or compounds from rocks that are submerged, in addition to clams and sea sponges.

What do land snails eat?

¿Have you ever wondered what garden snails eat when you look at them among your plants? Here we have the answer.

The first thing you should know is that the vision of snails is quite poor, so they use smell to get their food. In general, this should be rich in calcium, since they look for this component to strengthen their shell and protect themselves from dangers. They are mostly herbivorous animals, so their diet consists of plant debris, pieces of fruit and even stones or land.

Despite this, there are some types of land snails that are carnivorous and even feed on smaller snails.

What do freshwater snails eat?

Continuing with the feeding of snails, you should know what do aquarium snails eat. The objective, both in home aquariums and in those where you can go to observe the fauna of the rivers, is that the diet is as similar to what these animals would have in their natural habitat..

However, ¿do freshwater snails eat? In freedom, they consume algae, remains found in the stones, aquatic flora and plankton. In addition, in your home aquarium you can also offer flake food for fish.

How do snails eat if they don't have teeth?

Now that you know what different types of snails eat, you need to know how they do it. At first glance, it seems that snails lack teeth, as their soft bodies do not reveal structures of this type., ¿how do snails eat if they don't have teeth? The answer is simple: they have a organ called radula, which is similar to a jaw. Within the radula it is possible to find rows of tiny chitin teeth.

Once the snail has gotten its food, it takes it to the radula, where scrapes it over and over until you break it down enough to continue the digestion process. The snail's teeth suffer a lot of damage as time goes by, because of this, they are continually replaced by others.

Image: Snail radula by Sara Ortega Espinosa

What do snails drink?

This is a question that many people ask themselves. You know what these gastropod mollusks eat, but ¿what do snails drink? They don't actually drink water like humans or other animals, but rather move on damp surfaces to absorb it across your lower body.

This mechanism allows them to acquire the necessary nutrients to preserve and strengthen their shell. However, in case the snail does not find wet surfaces, it resorts to eating food whose composition contains a sufficient amount of the vital liquid..

How to care for a snail?

If you want to have a snail as a pet, you must consider some conditions to guarantee a good quality of life. To take care of a snail, follow these tips:

Choose a good house

Although the shell serves as a shelter against predators, you should condition a space so that you feel calm and safe. You can buy a plastic or glass fish tank that has ventilation, natural light and enough humidity..

Cover the surface of the fish tank with substrate, it can be soil, loam, mulch and moss. Make sure it doesn't contain pesticides, as they can be harmful to snails. In addition, it is important to note that snails eat cardboard, so you must discard this material when giving it a house.

Decorate the nest

Snails are very curious animals, it is recommended that you decorate your home with climbing twigs, plants, rocks and objects interesting that you can interact with. You should never put glass, ceramics or sharp objects.


You must make sure that your snail is always found well fed. Place the food at the opposite end of the tank, away from the nest, so that the snail must move around at mealtime, this will help preserve their home, make cleaning easier and allow them to exercise..

Don't forget they require a diet rich in calcium, so you need to add well crushed eggshells for consumption. The rest of the diet will depend on the type of snail and the species.

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