All about snails - 5

Snail Dangers and Predators

One of the main reasons why snails die is due to becoming a meal for other animals. We all know that snails are extremely slow creatures so they definitely aren’t going to be able to out run other animals in the wild. Many of the smaller species of snails end up being consumed by larger ones like the Decollate snail, which is a voracious predator that feeds from garden snails and slugs as well as their eggs. Other common predators include leeches, beetles, and caterpillars.
There is a sort of invertebrate predators of land snails, including beetles, flies, mites, and other snails, while shrews, mice, amphibians, reptiles and birds are the main vertebrate predators.
They have some other predators too that are much larger than these. Depending on where they live they may be eaten by frogs, toads, snakes, and a variety of different birds. Most of them find the snail to be very simple prey and since they are small, eating large numbers of them isn’t uncommon.
In some areas ducks and geese will feed on snails too. Many parks have small ponds where these types of birds reside. They will likely have lots of trees to which provide the shade for the snails as well. Even though these ducks and geese often get lots of food from visitors they still have a natural instinct to find various types of prey including snails out there in the wild.
In many areas domestic pets can be predators for snails as well. They include cats and dogs. They may not need to consume them as food but they are often curious as well as territorial. Some of them may eat them but others simply kill them or just play with them. During some types of the year field mice may be out and they tend to consume snails as well.

Defense Mechanisms

Snails really don’t have much they can do but to hide from predators. The coloring of their bodies offers them a great way to hide. In fact, if you have a garden you may have lots of snails but you don’t see them unless you are actively looking for them. Their only real defense from some predators is the chance to put their entire body inside of the shell. However, many predators are able to break through it anyway.
Thickened shells have been another way to defend from predators as well as an increased secretion of mucus.

Human Danger

Humans are a huge threat to some species of snails. The consumption of them as a type of delicacy is very popular, especially among the upper class. Millions of them are captured and consumed for food annually. However, the majority of snails used for food are grown on snail farms so the actual overall wild population of them isn’t bothered.
This also helps to ensure that healthy snails are the ones that are being available for people to consume. When they are harvested then they are actually fed a special type of diet. This ensures that they will have a better taste than those that you just end up finding in the wild. Of course you will pay more for this type of snail as a food but most people find it to be delicious and well worth it.
With so many predators you may wonder how the snails continue to survive. The fact that they can mate several times per year though is very helpful. The fact that they can also lay up to 100 eggs at a time is another benefit. Even though they have a high mortality rate there are enough of them to help keep the number of snails out there at a decent level.
Many experts feel that the abundance of snails helps to keep other types of animals thriving as well. As you can tell from the list above, there is no shortage of animals that are able to benefit from the consumption of such small forms of life out there.

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