As the number of people keeping pet snails and those caring for their garden snails increases, we see more and more questions from the community relating to how to look after snails as well as the various behaviours of snails. One of the more common questions people have been asking about snails recently is if snails make noise or not and the majority of the answers we see on social media are incorrect so we wanted to publish our own article on the topic.
Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers not only understand the sounds and noises that snails make but also what they usually mean and why snails make them. Just keep in mind that due to the tiny size of snails, it can be hard to hear them due to their sound waves being so weak compared to other animals, this is why so many people think that snails are silent with this being the general answer that you will get on social media.
We have added a table of contents below to make it as easy as possible to navigate the article and skip to specific sections that you may want answers for. It will prevent you from having to skim over the full article but if you do keep pet snails or feed the snails in your garden then it may be a good idea to at least skim the full article to learn what each sound means.
Do Snails Make Noise?
Snails make a range of sounds with the squeak and hiss being the most common sounds that snails will make with some snails species sometimes making a grunting sound at times too. A small number of snails are also able to make a whistling sound but this does tend to be rare and aquatic snails can make some unique sounds when expelling water from their shell.
Although there is a viral clip on social media of a snail growling, this is fake and the growling sound was added after the video was recorded. We just wanted to add that to the article as we have seen a few people asking if snails can growl due to seeing the clip.
Some specific species of snails can make unique noises that the majority of other types of snails are unable to make too but this is very rare. Most snails will also make a slight noise when moving due to the leaves or whatever they are moving over changing position but this is not technically a noise directly from the snail and is simply due to the snail being there.
Do Snails Squeak?
Most snails can squeak when they move from one place to another due to the way that the “foot” of the snail works when moving being based on a movement that involved the full snail body. If there is excess air in the snail’s shell then the movement can push the air out of the snail and cause a squeak sound every second or so.
Some snails can actually end up being in a position where their movements can push air back into their shell as they move too and then as they extend their foot their squeaking sound occurs. This is rare but when the snail does end up in this position, it can essentially squeak all the way from one place to another every second due to the air in its shell being replaced while moving.
Some larger snail species can also squeak or whistle loudly when retracting their body into their shell too. This is usually situational as the snail will require a large amount of air in the shell and be retracting rapidly due to being shocked by something so this type of squeak or whistle is rare.
Do Snails Hiss?
Most terrestrial snails have developed a defence system based around retracting into their shells and expelling a large amount of watery slime. When snails expel their watery slime, they can end up making a hissing sound due to forcing air out of their shell to bubble the slime up as much as possible.
This tends to be the most common sound that snails will make as they are often forcing air out of their shell to bubble the slime increasing the chances of the sound occurring. With the squeaking sound covered above, the snail usually has to be positioned in a specific way for the sound to happen, especially consistently when moving.
Some larger snails can actually make a surprisingly loud, continuous hissing sound when expelling their slime too but the majority of our readers are probably used to handling garden snails where the hiss is usually audible but much quieter. Still, if you pick some snails up off the ground then they will retract their body and expel the slime creating the hissing sound.
Do Snails Make Sounds When Eating?
Most snails will make a very quiet crunching sound when they eat as they take bites of the food that they are eating. This is usually very quiet and difficult to hear but if you listen carefully then you can usually hear the sound of a snail crunching its food as it eats.
This is technically the food making the sound though as the snail is not able to make this crunching sound without the food and it will only happen when the snail is eating tough food such as carrots. Still, it can be cute to ear the tiny little crunches of your snail enjoying its meal with a group of snails all eating something like a carrot being able to produce a louder sound of the crunching making it easier to hear.
Some larger snail species will make this sound no matter what they eat with it usually being easier to hear due to their louder mouths allowing more food to be crunched at the same time. The majority of our readers should still be able to hear the sound with smaller snails if they are in a quiet room and focus on the sound though.
That brings our article going over if snails make noise to an end. We hope that we have been able to help our readers better understand the reasons why snails make the different types of sound that they make. Most people tend to think that snails are silent animals but this is not the case, their small size just results in much lower sound levels than most other animals but if you listen carefully enough, you should be able to hear the sounds of the snails you care for.