Do Turtles Eat Snails?

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Yes, some turtles, especially aquatic species, do eat snails as part of their diet. Snails can be a natural source of calcium for turtles, which is crucial for their shell development. However, not all turtle species will eat snails, as diet preferences vary.

Why Do Turtles Eat Snails?

Turtles are not picky eaters and will eat nearly anything. They consume snails, for instance, since they are a typical food for turtles.

In the wild, turtles eat a variety of creatures, including worms, slugs, and snails. Further, turtles prefer to seek and consume live prey over plant-based diets.

Snails are favored by turtles because they provide the protein the reptiles need to stay healthy. In addition, musk turtles and other turtle species rely heavily on snails for nutrition.

Are Snails Good For Turtles?

Turtles can safely eat snails if they aren’t overfed. Snails are a nutritious part of many turtles’ diets and are enjoyed by both pet and wild turtles. They provide protein and calcium, which help maintain the integrity of a turtle’s shell and overall health.

Nutritional Benefits

Snails offer substantial nutritional benefits for turtles. They are a high-protein food and a source of calcium, essential for shell health. Snails are not only nutritious but also enjoyable for turtles to eat.

Considerations for Captive Turtles

However, the dietary needs and digestion of captive turtles can differ greatly from those in the wild. Wild turtles are more active, which supports stronger digestion. Overfeeding snails can lead to protein overload and shell deformities, such as pyramiding.

Moderation is Key

It’s crucial to moderate the amount of snails your turtle eats. Snails can be given as a treat once a week. Canned snails without shells are safe, but live snails require careful consideration to avoid health issues.

Are Snails Safe For Pet Turtles To Eat?

A pet turtle can, in fact, eat snails. For the most part, turtles would rather eat real prey than pellets or vegetables.

Since live food is required even in captivity, snails are a great choice for occasional treats.

Which Is Better: Canned Or Live Snails?

Raising and trying to feed live snails comes with too many complications and problems to be worthwhile.

They may be infected with parasites that are hazardous to turtles and are readily spread between them.

And not all turtles have the digestive system to process snail shells. In this situation, you can feed canned snails.

Here is a very good option for canned snails:  Zoo Med’s Can O’ Snails. This snail chow contains 25-30 deshelled snails bred on a farm, preserved in their natural fluids.

Parasites like lung fluke, which are spread by eating wild-caught snails, may be fatal to turtles. Multiple parasites and diseases use snails as an “intermediary” host.

Make sure to get your live snails from reputable pet shops if you want to give them to your pets. It is obvious that you shouldn’t have wild-caught snails and turtles in the same aquarium.

What Are The Risks Of Turtles Eating Snails?

While a turtle may appreciate a snail now and again, there are risks involved with making snails a regular part of a turtle’s diet.

A parasite illness carried by snails may be transmitted to turtles and perhaps even humans. To keep your pet turtle healthy, don’t give it just any snails you come across.

What Safety Measures Should Be Taken While Feeding Snails?

Live snails provided in moderation may be suitable for turtle health. It tastes good and meets their need for protein.

However, if care is not followed while giving live food to turtles, it may be lethal. The parasites found in live snails may be dangerous. Thus, it is not safe to give captive turtles live, wild-caught snails.

They may carry dangerous parasites that can give turtles fatal lung flukes. Snails are often used as transitional hosts for other organisms, including parasites and diseases.

The effects of goniobasis tenera lung fluke invasion on many loggerhead turtles are documented.

Although there is a small chance of infection when serving living snails to turtles, you may prevent illness by following these steps.

  • You should only ever buy live snails from reputable pet retailers.
  • If the garden snails have not been subjected to any insecticides or bait, you may give them to your turtles alive.
  • Do not raise wild-caught snails in an aquarium with a turtle. Turtles are likely to try to eat the snails.
  • If snails have parasites, they might be lethal for turtles. So make sure they are properly washed and disinfected in a harmless manner.

Alright! Let’s go on to the next step and explore whether it’s possible to keep turtles and snails together.

Can Musk Turtles Eat Snails?

And snails are a favorite food of musk turtles. As long as the snails are small enough, their jaws can handle eating them. But don’t hand out too many snails all at once.

Can Painted Turtles Eat Snails?

The natural diet of the painted turtle includes a significant amount of snails. Therefore, there is no danger to your pet.

However, be wary of overfeeding your painted turtles a diet high in protein or phosphorus since this may lead to serious health problems.

Which Other Turtles Eat Snails?

Most turtles’ staple diet consists of snails. Snails are a component of a turtle’s natural diet. One thing to remember is that turtle hatchlings are more likely to eat snails than adult turtles.

The older turtles may sometimes consume snails. The following are examples of common turtles that feed on snails:

  • Red-eared sliders
  • Wood turtles
  • Box turtles
  • Yellow-bellied turtles
  • Aquatic turtles
  • Mud turtles
  • Mississippi map turtles
  • Snapping turtles
  • Green turtle hatchlings
  • African side neck turtles

Can Turtles Eat Garden Snails?

If the snails aren’t treated with snail bait or insecticides, then yes, turtles may safely consume them. Make sure you get your turtle’s live garden snails from a reputable source, so you know where they came from.

What Kinds Of Snails Do Turtles Prefer?

In their natural environment, turtles consume every kind of snail that fits inside their digestive systems. Common types of snails consumed by turtles are:

  • Apple snails
  • Mystery snails
  • Ramshorn snails
  • Pond snails
  • Bladder snails
  • Garden snails
  • Malaysian trumpet snails and
  • Nerite snails

Many varieties of snails exist, but due to their unique nutritional needs, only certain should be fed to turtles.

Your turtle would benefit most from eating African giant snails. This snail species may abundantly supply the calcium and other elements necessary for strong bones and shells.

Snails not only provide healthy food for your turtle but also assist in keeping the environment clean.

Snails help maintain water clear and free of pathogens by feeding on algae and other floating debris. For a tasty and nourishing snack, offer your turtle some African giant snails.

How Many Snails Can Turtles Eat?

Even while turtles like chomping down on snails, it’s best not to offer them an excessive amount too often. 

Once every ten days,  you can feed each of your turtles about two snails.

The turtle has a voracious appetite. Therefore, you need to be sure that you are limiting their consumption of snails since eating an excessive amount of protein might promote pyramiding.

Does A Baby Turtle Eat Snails?

The answer is yes. Young turtles, just like their more mature siblings, are still able to consume snails.

They have a voracious appetite for animal protein, and they will quickly pursue a snail that they may consume.

This trait is typical of juvenile snails. However, young turtles will avoid larger snails, such as the agate snail, because of their size.

Because it is still young and developing, you may anticipate the baby snail restricting its prey selection to snails that are smaller or of modest size.

Very young baby turtles that have not yet developed may find it difficult to gnaw through the shell of the snail.

In this circumstance, the turtle would devour the portion of the snail that it could eat, evacuating the shell.

Can Turtles Digest The Shells Of Snails?

Turtles have difficulty crushing snail shells in order to consume them. In addition, not all turtle species are capable of cracking and digesting snail shells. As a result, turtles often swallow all of the snails.

What To Do If Your Turtle Eats A Poisonous Snail?

If your turtle consumes a snail that you didn’t provide, and you suspect it might be poisonous, immediate action is crucial to ensure your turtle’s safety.

Immediate Actions for Suspected Poisoning

First, recognize the high risk of poisoning in turtles from consuming unknown snails. If you believe the snail is poisonous, promptly seek help from a veterinarian.

Watch for signs of poisoning in your turtle, such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or seizures. Immediate veterinary care is essential if these symptoms occur.

Allergic Reactions

Even if the snail was not toxic, your turtle could still have an allergic reaction. Symptoms to look out for include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling around the eyes, mouth, or throat. If you observe any of these, it is critical to seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Risk of Infection

Lastly, your turtle might contract an infection from the snail, regardless of toxicity or allergic reactions. Symptoms of an infection can include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and cloudy eyes. Contact a veterinarian without delay if any of these symptoms appear.

How To Prepare Snails For Your Turtle?

Preparing snails for your turtle involves a few critical steps to ensure their safety and health. Here’s how to do it properly:

Cleaning the Snails

First, thoroughly clean the snails. If you’ve collected them from the wild, rinse them well in fresh water. If purchasing from a pet store, confirm with the staff that the snails have been pre-cleaned.

Cooking the Snails

Next, boil the snails to eliminate any bacteria or parasites. You can boil them for five minutes or bake them in an oven at 350°F for fifteen minutes. Let them cool down before feeding them to your turtle.

Preparing for Feeding

Finally, break the snail meat into small pieces to make it easy for your turtle to eat. This helps prevent choking and ensures your turtle can easily digest the snails.

Regular Inclusion in Diet

Including snails in your turtle’s diet can be highly nutritious. Just ensure you follow these steps to maintain your turtle’s health and safety.

Closing Remarks

There is no question that turtles can consume snails in their diet. The majority of turtle species use it as a primary source of nutrition.

In addition, given that turtles appreciate the proteins found in animals more than those found in plants, you may periodically feed your pet one or two snails.

Because of the many potential complications that may arise from feeding live snails, you can resort to canned, de-shelled alternatives instead.

About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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