Do cats eat snails?

Yes, Cats do eat snails. It’s an unusual thing, though, since a cat will likely play with it and leave it afterward, rather than eating it. All cats enjoy roaming and hunting, and a slow-moving snail in front of them will attract them. If, by playing, they could crack the snail out of its shell, a cat may eat it out as a treat.

But how does it happen? Is it okay for cats to eat snails?

If you think that’s all there is to snails, then you’re wrong.

Read on and see for yourself!

Snails as prey to cats

The size of the snails makes them one of the easiest prey. Snails belong to the lower sections in the food chains, as they are food for the small animals.

Even so, snails can also become a treat for cats who will notice them.

Snails, unlike any other animals, are famous because of their slow movement.

It wouldn’t be much of a challenge to catch for a playful cat, but it won’t be a reason enough not to play with it.

As long as a snail moves, it will attract a cat, and it will become food once it’s come out of its shell.

Where do snails live?

Snails live everywhere in the world. They can survive in the dirt, in the sand, in trees, and even under rocks or leaves. They can also spend their time in rivers, lakes, and oceans.

There are land snails that cannot breathe underwater. Thus, they must come out when too much water enters their shell to avoid drowning.

Unlike any other prey, snails do not go into hiding. They can crawl in the open, in roads and walls, completely noticeable.

It is for this reason that they get too much attention, especially for roaming and hunting cats.

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How do cats eat snails?

A snail has a shell to protect it from predators who would wish to harm them.

Even so, the shell of a snail isn’t that hard to break compared to a turtle’s or any other shelled animals.

A simple stomp or drops from an elevated platform can create a crack in the shell for cats.

A playing cat will do this, but it will likely be by accident or by excessive playing.

With a broken shell, it may be the end of the snail. It is because the cover of a snail gives more than protection to them.

The Snail’s Shell

You may be asking: What do the snail’s shell do aside from protecting the snail itself?
The shell of a snail is a part of its body, like fingernails for part of us.

A shell that received significant damage can cause the death of the snail. Thus, with a few stomp and toss of cats to a snail can lead to its end.

A snail’s shell works as an outer skeleton. Since the snail has no bones to keep them sturdy from the inside, the cover compensates for it.

Aside from predators, the shell protects the snail from dehydration and other damages. Further, the cover serves as a support for muscle attachment and calcium storage.

Thus, without the shell, a snail will die from drying out or lack of calcium leading to further damage.

Snails can repair small cracks and holes. Even so, if the damage is severe, they will most likely die.

As prey for cats, it would be hard for them to escape since they move slow. Further, being small in size and no killing tools makes them incapable of fighting back.

The only thing they can do is to get in their shell and wait until the cat leaves them alone.

How slow are snails?

When it comes to speed, snails aren’t even a challenge for cats.

Snails are famous for being one of the slowest-moving animals. And because of their small size, the speed is even slower compared to any other animals.

The average crawling speed of a snail range from 0.013 m/s with the slowest to 0.0028 m/s.

One of the reasons why snails move so slow is that they create a slime track on their path.

For every inch, they make a think layer of slime, which is also an inch long.

This slime makes them move on almost any surface. While it is an advantage, it can also take a toll on the snails.

It is because the creation of this slime takes time as well as lots of water and energy. It’s also the reason why they are slow and take their time moving around.

Snails are so slow to the extent that cats may not take notice of them, especially in areas where they blend in.

Thus, the snails that are getting harassed by cats are those that crawl in bare surfaces like walls. These walls are the ones with colors in contrast to them.

Snails can also be a toy for cats on roadsides and places near the sea where they can wander from time to time.

With the fact that snails can serve as treats for cats, you may ask:

Is it okay for cats to eat snails?

Let’s find out!

What happens if a cat eats a snail?

Eating a snail or even a slug isn’t something that may cause any concern, especially for cats.

Cats aren’t picky eaters, and they can eat almost anything they can catch.

Even so, there are exemptions, such as if the snail had just consumed bait after becoming cat food.

This bait makes a snail dangerous and toxic for cat consumption.

What is a snail bait, and what makes it dangerous for cats?

A snail bait contains a compound called metaldehyde. This bait is in chewable pellets, and it includes flavors like molasses, apple, and bran.

While it attracts snails, they can attract cats as well, but not likely, as these baits aren’t moving.

What makes the snail bait dangerous for cats is the metaldehyde itself.

A cat may ignore the snail bait since it’s not alive.

Even so, the snail that eats it can be a victim for the cat. That’s where the toxic and cat meet.

Within an hour of consuming the snail containing metaldehyde, the toxic develops quickly.

The affected cat may become anxious, with an increase in heartbeat and the respiratory rate.

It can also lead to muscle tremors that often cause high fever and invite an organ failure.

For cats, nystagmus may occur, which is the rapid back-and-forth movement of the eyes.

Thus, even though a cat won’t eat a snail bait directly, it can indirectly eat one through a snail.

Can a snail bait kill cats?

Yes, it is already a proven fact that snail baits are dangerous to cats.

Snail baits may look harmless. Even so, the metaldehyde that it contains can make pets become ill, and can even kill them.

Snail baits generally contain 3% of these compounds. Further, the poisoning of pets with this toxic is usual on the United States’ west side.

Vets recommend that pet owners stay away from these molluscicides since it’s a risk for pets.

A dosage of 190-240 milligrams to a kilogram of body weight is dangerous for half percentage of cats.
Thus, a single pellet containing metaldehyde should be away from cats.

If untreated, metaldehyde toxicity can be fatal. For this reason, affected pets need hospitalization for 24 up to 72 hours upon taking in the toxic.

Freshwater snails also carry a parasitic disease, which we know as schistosomiasis. It is famous for infecting nearly 250 million people in Asia, Africa, and South America.

This disease, isn’t something worrisome, since freshwater snails aren’t of interest to cats.

Can snail kill cats?

Some snails like the cone snail, have poison glands.

These snails can inject lethal doses of toxins to cats, and even to dogs and humans. Even so, cone snails are marine organisms that live on tropical reefs.

With cats hating water so much, it’s unlikely that they’d get stung by one of these animals.

What other animals eat snails?

Cats aren’t the main predators of snails. Unlike cats that are harassing them only out of playfulness, other animals hunt them to feed.

For this reason, it is with these animals that snails should watch out. Among the snail-eating predators are:

The Invertebrate Predators such as:

  • Beetles and their larvae
  • Millipedes
  • Flies
  • Mites
  • Nematodes

The Vertebrate predators include:

  • Shrews
  • Mice
  • Squirrels

The amphibians and reptiles can also eat snail such as:

  • Salamanders
  • Toads
  • Turtles

Birds like also eat snails:

  • Thrushes
  • Grouse
  • Blackbirds
  • Wild turkey


  • Cats do eat snails, but not always. Cats will play with them, and if it accidentally breaks one, it may eat as a treat.
  • Snails are one of the easiest prey because of their tiny size and slow movement.
  • Cats and snails may have different places where they live. Even so, they can see each other often because they are both everywhere. Most cats would notice snails crawling in bare walls and on roadsides.
  • A cat may play with it and break its shell during the process. It may or may not eat, depending on its preference.
  • There’s more function with the snail shell than simple protection from predators.
  • Snails are so slow that they won’t be any challenge for cats. Even so, they can serve some entertainment while playing.
  • Eating a snail isn’t that dangerous for cats. But, if the snail are a snail bait, then that’s a different case.
  • Snail Bait contains metaldehyde, a toxic compound that is dangerous for cats to eat.
  • Some snails can inject poison, but it’s highly unlikely that cats would eat them since they’re in the sea.
  • Cats aren’t the main predators of snails. Aside from them, other animals eat snails solely for food and not entertainment.

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