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Do Snails Eat Other Snails?

Not only are more and more people starting to keep their own pet snails but the number of people feeding their garden snails is also starting to drastically increase as is the popularity of fish keeping and having a aquatic snails in the tank.

This has resulted in a spike in the number of questions that we see from the community about snails and their various behaviors with more and more questions being asked with each month that goes by.

Although we have noticed a wide range of questions being asked recently, we have seen a large number of people reaching out and asking if snails will eat other snails or not so we wanted to publish an article going over this.

The last thing you want is to have pet snails or care for snails and accidentally add in a snail that will see the other snails as food and start eating them but this does unfortunately happen.

Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible avoid this mistake and avoid accidentally adding a snail that will eat other snails in with their pet snails.

For the average person just feeding the snails in their garden, this is usually not a real risk but for people keeping exotic snails as pets or keeping aquatic snails, this really can be a real risk and something you have to consider.

Do Snails Eat Other Snails?

The majority of terrestrial snails are herbivorous or detritivorous (eats decaying plants) with a small number of terrestrial snails being omnivores but the majority of aquatic snails are omnivorous with some predatory carnivorous snails who will hunt and eat other snails.

The assassin snail is the most commonly known snail that will hunt and eat other snails but there are a small number of other snails who will eat other snails too.

When it comes to terrestrial land snails, the Powelliphanta genus of snails from New Zealand are the most commonly known snails that will hunt and eat other snails.

Although all of the snail species within the Powelliphanta genus are carnivorous, only a small number of the species of snails within the Powelliphanta genus will actually hunt and eat other snails although others may eat other snails if food sources are low or they find a snail carcass.

As the name suggests, the Pondoland cannibal snail from South Africa is another carnivorous snail that will hunt and eat other snails too.

Although it will eat other snails, it does eat a wide range of food sources but does tend to prefer to hunt snails when given the chance similar to the aquatic assassin snail.

What Kind of Snails Eat Other Snails?

The three main types of snails that will actively hunt and eat other snails are the aquatic assassin snail, the terrestrial Pondoland cannibal snail, and the terrestrial snails from the Powelliphanta genus.

There are other snail species that have been seen eating other snails but they tend not to actively hunt them and will often only eat other snails as an absolute last resort.

There have been some scientific studies into the behaviour of snails that are normally herbivorous or detritivorous in situations where food is scarce that have documented the snails turning into cannibals.

This would suggest that many of the snail species that are considered to be herbivorous or detritivorous may actually be omnivorous in certain situations but only turn to eating other snails as an absolute last resort.

Over the years there have been plenty of documented cases of snails attacking other snails to try and eat chunks of their shell if there are no available sources of calcium.

A snail requires a much higher calcium intake than most other animals and it is believed that their calcium cravings may be able to turn them into cannibals in some situations.

Do Big Snails Eat Baby Snails?

Some big snails will eat baby snails in some situations but the majority of snails will prioritise other food sources if possible.

There are some snails like the assassin snail that will actively hunt snails of all sizes no matter the species and eat any that it is able to successfully takedown.

If the calcium cravings of a snail are not satisfied then it is more common for a snail to attack a baby snail due to it having a weaker shell that is easier to eat too.

Older snails tend to have a much thicker and tougher shell making it much harder to eat their shell to get to the calcium making baby snails the main focus.

It is also believed that some snail species that are omnivorous or carnivorous may even eat their own young within the first few days of their life due to their shells being soft. This mays the baby snails easy pickings and a great sourced of protein and calcium that many snails natural diets are often lacking.


That brings our article going over if snails eat other snails to an end. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to make you away of a number of snail species that you should watch out for. Some fish keepers will intentionally add an assassin snail to their aquarium to control the population of the other snails in the tank but when it comes to terrestrial snails, there is rarely a reason to intentionally implement such steps.