What Eats Snails?

What Eats Snails

We all know snails as the annoying pest in our gardens that spoil our plants and damage them. As gardeners, you may be fully aware of the plants, vegetables and all the things which snails like to eat. However, it would also be helpful if you knew what eats snails. 

There are a number of animals that eat snails including lizards, hedgehogs and many common garden birds.

One of the best ways to reduce the snail population in your garden is by introducing natural predators. It’s not harmful to the environment, it’s cheap and it’s effective.

There are many ways to keep snails away from gardens. However, most of them revolve around using chemicals that can harm the environment. It is best to resort to natural ways, preferably those which have no impact on your garden.

So, What Eats Snails?

It becomes important to encourage diversity in your garden as it helps restore balance in nature. Of course, to do so, you must know which animals to attract so you can prepare your garden accordingly. 

Lizards

One of the animals which like to consume snails is a lizard. Lizards have no trouble consuming snails and will actively hunt them during the night time when they come out. These reptiles will eat not only snails but also their eggs. 

Lizards Eat Snails

Hedgehogs

Perhaps the most common predator of snails we all know about is the hedgehog.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal which means they come out at night when snails are more prevalent. Hedgehogs are a gardener’s best friend and love to consume snails (and slugs too).

It would help if you made your garden more attractive to hedgehogs. You can do so by leaving out food for these animals to ensure that they visit. It would largely help if you opened passageways in your garden to let hedgehogs in.

Moreover, building nests for hedgehogs would be a good option as most of them are looking for places to rest during the night.

Hedgehogs Eat Snails

Shrews

Shrews are often compared to hedgehogs, but their eating habits differ. However, shrews and hedgehogs both love to consume snails.

Like hedgehogs, shrews will eat snails, but they are aggressive eaters. While hedgehogs may consume smaller snails, shrews will also contribute by eating larger snails. 

Carnivorous snails

There are some species of snails that are predatory. These snails are carnivorous and do not eat vegetation like some garden snails. However, predatory snails will feed on other snails and actively hunt them.

Many gardeners like to use these snails to their advantage. These gardeners will plant carnivorous snails in their gardens to ensure that the garden snail population remains under control. 

Some predatory snails include rosy wolf snail, devil’s coach horse and brown garden snails. 

Birds

Some mammals which like to consume snails include birds. However, birds are not nocturnal and will not hunt snails during the nighttime as they are asleep.

On the other hand, these birds will consume snails that they find during the daytime. There are some birds that have special adaptations that help them hunt snails and eat them. Whether birds will consume snails depends largely on if they are found in water or land. 

Most birds will not actively hunt snails but are opportunistic predators. This means that birds will not give up an opportunity to attack snails if they find them out during the day. There are many birds that like to eat snails, including blackbirds, robins, bluebirds, and starlings. 

Birds Eat Snails

Birds that are larger in size can consume larger snails; however, small birds can only eat smaller snails. There are birds that consume larger snails by smashing them against the wall or ground to break the shell. 

Some large birds which consume snails include ravens, crows, and blue jays.

There are nocturnal birds too which like to eat snails. For instance, owls will also hunt snails during the night. 

Frogs and Toads

The amphibians who like to consume snails include frogs and toads. Many gardeners like having a garden pond to encourage frogs and toads.

Other than snails, these amphibians will also help control the slug population in your garden. Frogs and toads will consume whole snails, including the shells which break down in their bodies. 

Toad Eating Snail

Summary 

Snails are known to eat our plants and damage them. However, you will be glad to know that these animals have a lot of predators. You can control the snail population in your garden by introducing these predators in your garden. 

Some of the animals which feed on snails include reptiles like lizards and snakes. In addition, one of the common mammals which feed on snails is hedgehogs. Some types of birds also feed on snails they find during the daytime, like songbirds.

There are also carnivorous snails that will eat other snails. Gardeners like to use these predatory snails to help with the garden snail population.

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