Are Snails Poisonous?

Snails are a complete nightmare in the garden. They cause havoc across your flower beds and vegetable patch munching away on anything and everything. But are they more dangerous than this? Are snails poisonous and should you be worried about them?

Fortunately, the common garden snails you find are not poisonous or venomous. 

You must not worry about garden snails being poisonous if you have an infestation. There are poisonous and venomous snails in the world, of course, such as the infamous cone snail but you will not find these in your garden.

Are Snails Poisonous to Cats?

Cats are inquisitive pets and will try to eat anything if they can. Snails are easy prey because of how slow they move. Therefore, many animals consume them, including cats. Catching a snail and eating it is not much of a challenge to cats. 

Cats can easily eat snails despite their shells. Cats can break the snail shells by stomping on them or making them fall from a height. With the shell broken, there is nothing to protect the snail, and cats can enjoy them. 

Although snails are not directly poisonous, they can still be harmful as they carry certain parasites. For instance, snails have lungworms, which can be transferred to animals as they eat them. 

Snails Poisonous to Cats

Are Snails Poisonous to Dogs?

Dogs are often found in gardens, satisfying their curiosity, and can end up eating snails. Consuming snails can be dangerous for dogs, even if they are not poisonous. The snail slime has a lot of parasites which can be a health hazard. 

If your dog has eaten a snail, you should not panic. Snails are not directly harmful to dogs, only if they are carriers of the dangerous parasite, lungworm. Therefore, in the coming days, you need to keep an eye out for any symptoms that indicate that your dog has been infected.

Some of the symptoms of lungworm include having difficulty breathing, lethargy, coughing, blood in stools and urine, and weight loss. It is important to monitor your dog and take it to the vet if these symptoms show.

Snails Poisonous to Dogs

Can a Snail Kill You?

Snails appear to be harmless and do not look so dangerous. However, it is always important to be on the safe side. 

Unless you are diving in tropical waters without protection and come across a cone snail which can shoot a lethal toxin then, chances are, a snail cannot kill you.

When it comes to garden snails, they are not life-threatening like cone snails. This is fortunate because your interaction with garden snails is more likely than with cone snails. Touching garden snails and holding them in your hand should not be much of a problem. 

Can You Eat Garden Snails?

Although it’s likely to be completely safe to do so, and more garden snails are similar to those made famous by the French cuisine, we would still err on the side of caution.

Unless you know what you’re doing, garden snails won’t be as enjoyable if not cooked perfectly. Instead, we’d leave this practice to the French!

Are Snails a Danger to Plants?

Having snails in your garden may not harm you but can be dangerous for your plants. Snails cause damage to plants by eating them, and you can see that if you observe holes in the leaves and flowers. 

Snails are dependent on plants as their main food source. Therefore, any of the plants you have in your garden are susceptible to snail damage. If you need to get rid of snails then check out our list of deterrents here.

Avoid Using Snail Pellets
Where possible, we would avoid using slug or snail pellets. Although they can be effective, they will also cause damage to the environment and can easily harm other animals including your pets. There are plenty of more natural options you can consider instead.


Snails are one of the most common garden pests you can find, but they do too much damage. In addition to messing with plants, snails carry harmful parasites. Garden snails are not poisonous and are unlikely to kill you.

There are known snails that can be lethal, such as the cone snail, but there is zero chance of coming across this in your normal garden. They are marine animals found in tropical, warm waters.

If you have pets like cats and dogs, it is important to watch them if they eat snails. While snails are not directly harmful, they can contain lungworm. If you think your pet has eaten a snail, look out for the symptoms.

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