Snails are considered pests to gardeners and can be very dangerous for plants. However, we’re also going to look at whether they are dangerous to humans or other animals and if precautions need to be taken when removing them.
Snails are dangerous to plants but can also be dangerous to humans. There is a possibility that they contain worms that can be passed on to humans.
How are Snails Dangerous to Plants?
First, let’s look at where they cause the most damage. The most noticeable sign of snails in your garden will be the damage your plants have taken.
If your plants have been damaged by snails, then you will likely see various holes in their leaves, stalks, and flowers, depending on the specific plants.
It is also possible that they will begin wilting and begin to turn yellow in colour as a result of the damage by these snails.
So, snails cause damage to plants, but why?
It’s because plants are the main component of a snail’s diet. At least, that is the case for most land snails which includes the common garden snail, the species of snail that you are most likely to find in your garden.
These snails are also not picky, they will cause damage to most species of plants in your garden, including fruit and vegetable plants.
How Are Snails Dangerous to Humans?
If you are squeamish, you may find it very difficult to deal with snails, but regardless, it is important to know if these pests threaten us.
Whilst snails are eaten in France as a delicacy, you should under no circumstances try to cook any snails that you find in your garden.
There is a small possibility that they contain worms that can be passed on to us humans if consumed.
It is for this reason that you also need to take precautions when removing snails or gathering produce that has been touched by snails. You should wear gloves if you are removing the snails in your garden by hand.
Make sure to wash your hands after coming into contact with a snail or touching flowers or crops that have been eaten by snails.
Some may say that this is over precautious, as the likelihood of contracting worms from snails is still quite low. But this is one of those cases in which it is better to be safe than sorry.
Make sure to warn your children not to play with any snails or slugs you see in the garden, and try to remove them as quickly as possible.
Are Snails Poisonous or Venomous?
Common garden snails are not poisonous, nor are they venomous. This means that they are not toxic to humans either through their consumption or their bites. That being said, the main danger with snails is that they can pass on parasites through contact.
Are Garden Snails Safe to Handle?
Yes, snails are safe to handle even if it can be a little offputting to do so. However, after handing a snail you should wash your hands to ensure they have no snail slime on them.
Are Snails Dangerous to Dogs?
Sadly, snails are very dangerous to dogs.
Like with humans, a dog can contract lungworm from consuming a snail or a slug, and this can be quickly fatal.
It is important to keep your eye on your dog when roaming in your garden, especially if you have reason to believe that you may have a snail infestation.
If you think your dog has eaten a snail or a slug, then you should take them to the vet so that they can be checked for lungworm. Once again, this is a situation where you want to err on the side of caution.
Cats can also contract lungworm from slugs and snails, but they are less likely to eat one than a dog. However, due to their roaming nature, it can be difficult to tell if they have eaten one.
Be sure to keep an eye out for any of these lungworm symptoms in your dog and your cat. Take them to the vet immediately if you see your pet has difficulty breathing, has rapidly lost weight or is frequently vomiting.
Snails are very dangerous to plants, and the parasites they carry can be dangerous to humans and pets. Snails cause damage to plants because they eat large amounts of them.
You can drive snails away from your plants by using coffee or difficult terrain such as gravel. Where possible, opt for natural ways to deter snails versus slug pellets. Simply encouraging predators that eat snails is a good solution.
Snails can carry lungworm, which can be passed on to humans or other animals if consumed. Take your pet to a vet if you think they have eaten a snail.