One of the best ways to deal with any pests, including snails, is to know what eats them and then attract those predators to your garden. So, what animals eat snails? And how do you get them to visit your garden?
Plenty of animals eat snails including frogs, birds and hedgehogs.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is let nature take over.
It is important to have diversity in your garden so balance is restored. By having these natural predators in your garden, you will also be protecting your plants from other harmful pests.
By putting food out or creating ponds and birdhouses, you can make your garden a safe space for predators who then deal with your pest problems for you.
What Animals Eat Snails at Night
Snails like to come out at night to look for food to avoid predators. However, even during the nighttime, a few predators are waiting to eat snails.
You might be surprised to hear that animals like to consume snails because they are packed with benefits. Snails contain a lot of protein and plenty of vitamin B12.
One of the animal groups that eat snails at night are amphibians. From frogs to toads, they’ll all enjoy a snail as a snack (including the shell).
Another popular nighttime predator of the snail is the hedgehog. These spined mammals are nocturnal and forage through the night, searching for food.
You can make your garden more inviting for hedgehogs by making nests and leaving out food for them. It would also be ideal if you can create passages through your fence so hedgehogs can easily pass by.
In addition to hedgehogs, other mammals which hunt snails at night are shrews. Shrews eat rather aggressively and will consume snails in large amounts.
Do Birds Eat Snails?
One of the animals which eat snails is the common garden bird. However, as birds are not nocturnal and sleep during the night, they will prey on any snails they find during the day.
Some birds have adaptations that specifically aid them in hunting snails. Which birds consume snails depends on where in the world you are from.
One of the birds which eat snails is the songbird.
Songbirds are opportunistic predators of snails. Many songbirds like to munch on snails, including bluebirds, blackbirds, robins, and starlings.
Big birds can consume snails bigger in size; however, small birds will only consume snails if they are small in size.
Some songbirds have adapted to consuming snails and will eat the larger ones by smashing them against the wall. This will crack open the shell so that they can then consume the slimy snail body within.
Other large birds also like to eat snails which include blue jays, ravens, and crows.
There will also be a chance that owls will consume snails at night.
How To Attract Snail Predators to Gardens
Using chemicals in your garden should be a last resort (if an option at all). Although slug pellets can be used to rid your garden of snails effectively, they are packed full of harmful chemicals which can do more long-term damage than it’s worth.
A lot of animals consume snails, but there are some which you can encourage to your garden.
The best way to have diversity and encourage predators is to create a habitable environment for them. You can install birdhouses in your gardens, filling them with birdseed and bread. The birds which come to your garden will also resort to eating the snails they find.
One of the mammals which are found scurrying in gardens is hedgehogs. You can keep out bowls of food for hedgehogs, build them some nests and keep your fences accessible, so they can easily enter your garden.
You can also have a garden pond to keep some frogs in your garden. Frogs love to prey on snails and will help control the population.
Snails can be quite the problem for gardeners. Snails, along with slugs, are some of the most frustrating pests gardeners have to deal with.
Unfortunately, getting rid of snails is not that easy, but you can still do it by encouraging natural predators. There are plenty of animals that eat snails, including birds, frogs, and hedgehogs.
Birds also like to prey on snails, although some prefer smaller ones. You can attract some animals to your garden by making it more inviting. For instance, you can install a birdhouse, create a hedgehog nest and highway and leave some food for it or get a garden pond for frogs.