What Do Garden Snails Eat? Foods They Love And What To Avoid

garden snails eat

What a snail eats is mainly determined by the snail’s species and location. Snails come in thousands of distinct species all over the world. Snails may be classified into three groups in general:

  • Land snails, also known as terrestrial snails, are a kind of snail that lives on land and can be found on gardens.
  • Freshwater snails.
  • Snails that live in saltwater are often known as sea snails.

The majority of snails, whether land snails or others are herbivorous.

So, what do garden snails eat?

Plants, fruits, vegetables, and algae are examples of conventional foods. Plants about to die make fantastic food for them, and they also eat sand or dirt in search of calcium to build a thicker shell.

Other varieties of snails can be omnivorous, meaning they will eat both plant and animal-based foods. Carnivorous snails, on the other hand, are those that solely consume meat.

What do garden snails eat in the wild and as pets?

Slugs in the wild aren’t fussy eaters and can be found in your garden beds. Snails can be omnivore, detritivores, or even carnivores. Yes, some are predators that eat other animals or dead animal waste. Snails, on the other hand, are herbivores in the majority of cases. They’ll eat anything, including plants, tree bark, and veggies.

Snails as pets are similar in that they will consume almost any plant material they come upon. To find out what they prefer, check out the various dishes we recommend throughout this post. Don’t worry; they won’t eat anything if they don’t like it. You can always swap out new food with something else they’ll eat.

What do snails eat in captivity?

Food for your garden snail is simple to get by. Fruits, veggies, grass, plants, and whatever else you may find in your refrigerator or yard are all favorites of slugs.

Before you put the food in their tank, make sure you carefully wash it. Potentially hazardous pesticides can be removed by rinsing with clean water.

Every couple of days, remove any rotting scraps and replenish the food supply. Mold won’t develop in the tank if you have fresh fruits and veggies in it.

Feeding in snail homes

Create a pleasant setting for your snail pet when feeding them. When making the perfect snail terrarium, keep the following tips in mind:

Store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.

  • Store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
  • Use sticks, leaves, bark, or plants to create a natural environment for them.
  • Cover with a few inches of chemical-free soil and water regularly (more on that later)
  • Use structures such as hollowed-out logs to create hiding spaces.
  • Check that their tank has adequate air.

What is a snail’s favorite food?

Snails consume plants, fruits, and other items. Because everyone’s taste buds are different, it may take a few weeks to figure out what they like.

Here are some suggestions that can make your snails happy:


Your terrestrial snail will like lettuce as a tasty, crisp snack. It also ensures that they stay hydrated.


Although beer may appear to be an unusual option, snails enjoy the yeast it delivers. Tiny droplets every now and again are delectable. However, too much might be dangerous, so limit yourself to just a few drips.


When clearing out your refrigerator, keep in mind that your pet will most likely enjoy fruits like:

• Strawberries
• Bananas
• Apples
• Pears
• Avocados
• Mangos
• Peaches

There’s a lot of discussion over whether citrus is harmful to these animals. To be safe, serve foods like oranges in moderation.


These small creatures, unlike your children, like eating veggies. It shouldn’t be challenging to get them to eat:

• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Cucumbers
• Potatoes
• Spinach
• Cabbage
• Mushrooms
• Peppers

IIf you’re feeding them “hard” foods like potatoes and carrots, try cooking them first to soften them. Let the food cool thoroughly before placing it in the tank.


Seeds are a major hit as well. Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds are all popular choices. Before serving, it’s recommended to smash, ground, or soak them.

Pet food

It’s also customary to provide tortoise or dog food. It should be soaked before being placed in the terrarium.

Raw meat

Snails that consume raw meat, such as steak mince and chicken, are known as carnivorous snails. Don’t give them any meat that has been seasoned. They’ll eat raw, cooked, and eggshells as well.

Foods to protect snail shells

Snails only get one shell. They require a lot of calcium to keep their exterior in excellent condition.
Leafy green vegetables like broccoli, kale, and Brussel sprouts are high in calcium. Calcium supplements, on the other hand, may be purchased at a pet store.

Don’t be scared to throw in a cuttlefish bone or an eggshell in their aquarium. The radula scrapes in the snail’s mouth scrape away at these calcium-rich meals.

While a shortage of calcium might hinder snails from developing and rebuilding their shells, it’s also crucial to avoid overdoing it. Excess calcium can cause internal stones, which can be dangerous. The required calcium intake for snails is roughly 20% of their total diet.

Foods to avoid

Although land snails aren’t picky, that doesn’t imply you should feed them anything.

Foods that can harm snails include:

• Excessively salty foods
• Pasta
• Rice
• Anything contaminated by pesticides or harmful chemicals

Do garden snails drink water?

You might be wondering if land snails drink water now that you’ve learned about their different feeding habits. Snails are unusual organisms in that they do not require a water dish to survive. The meals you offer them provide them with a lot of the hydration they need.

Snails obtain moisture from their tank’s dirt as well. To keep the surroundings wet, use a spray bottle twice a day. While a water dish isn’t required, it will be appreciated by these snails. They will not only drink from it but also bathe in it.

If you prefer to include a bowl, make sure it’s shallow to avoid drowning your snails. Snails may tip it over in the soil; thus, it should be rather substantial.

What to feed baby snails

You might be wondering what your new offspring will eat if your adult snails lay eggs.
Fortunately, it’s straightforward: newborns eat almost precisely what adults do. Allow these snails to eat various foods at first to help them become less choosy later in life. Give these snails only watery things (like tomato insides) that they can drown on.

The size of the tank’s water bowl should also be considered (if you choose to include one).
They’ll also require a lot of calcium to strengthen their new shells.

Fun Fact: Snails are born with their shells. The first thing they do when they break out from their egg is devouring the casing. It’s high in calcium, which helps to strengthen the new shell.

Do carnivorous snails eat other snails?

Because certain kinds are carnivorous, your pet snail may try to devour the other snails in the aquarium. As long as you maintain various species in separate tanks, this shouldn’t happen.

What do freshwater snails eat?

What do freshwater slugs eat? You know what to feed land snails. These guys don’t need to eat anything special. The algae and extra detritus in the aquarium will provide food for them. You’ll love how minimal maintenance they are as well as how easy they are to keep clean!

Algae discs from your local pet store can suffice if you need to boost their diet.

What do sea snails eat?

Sea snails eat algae in the aquarium in the same way as freshwater snails do. They’re also well-known bottom feeders, scavenging for organic trash, decaying plants, and uneaten fish food. It’s worth noting that a saltwater slug’s mouth can fit small bits of shrimp, scallops, and fish. These meaty treats may be added to the tank to provide a tasty treat.

Final thoughts

Your snail is like a family member, and they need to be well fed! What do garden snails consume, exactly? They may eat a variety of herbs, fruits, and vegetables as long as they get plenty of calcium.

Consider this the greatest cookbook for snails. Feel free to save it and come back to it to make sure your pet is getting the greatest food.

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Emma Olsen
I’m a gardener and blogger with over 20 years of expertise writing about and cultivating fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I have extensive experience in organic and sustainable gardening, perennials, annuals, and sustainable and urban farming. I’m a nature freak and I enjoy bird watching and swimming with sea creatures.