Do Turtles Eat Snails? | Is it safe for them to eat?

Snails are fascinating because they are found everywhere, including deserts, oceans, forests, and plains, due to their thriving nature. Do turtles eat snails? As a turtle keeper, if you are doubtful about whether turtles can eat snails or not. In wild turtles, the natural diet includes snails as they are full of nutrients. 

Snail is rich in protein, making it an excellent meal for turtles as it helps them grow and develop. Like anything else, feeding it in abundance will result in pyramiding in turtles. Some snails are host to deadly parasites, especially flukes, so never ever feed your turtle with a wild snail.

Why Do Turtles Eat Snails?

Turtles can eat almost every type of food as they are omnivorous. You may be wondering why turtles eat snails. Snails are a natural hunt for turtles because they are found everywhere. For the development of their fleshy part, turtles need to intake protein, so snails are an ideal option for their diet.

Can Pet Turtles Eat Snails?

Turtles can benefit from eating snails if they eat in moderation. As they are rich in protein and necessary nutrients, turtles like to eat snails for overall growth. Apart from that, they contain nutrients such as Calcium, Potassium, and Vitamin A needed for the proper development of turtles. 

You can not compare the immunity of wild and pet turtles because wild ones perform much more activities, so their digestive system works well. On the other hand, pet turtles depend on their owner for their diet and care, unlike wild turtles who struggle to survive. Please do not feed your pet the same amount of snails wild turtles eat as they can not digest it.

Overfeeding snails by the turtle can lead to pyramiding due to the overdose of protein. Excessive intake of protein can have other health complications as well. If a turtle loves to eat snails, then give it to them as a treat every week. I advise you to feed canned snails, as they are farm raised, indicating that they are healthy for your pet.

Nutrition Table For 100g Of Snail:

Nutrient Daily Value
Vitamin B67%
Vitamin A2%
Phosphorus 27%
Calcium 1%
Protein 16.1g
Total Fat1.4g

Precautions For Feeding Live Snails To Turtles:

When fed in moderation, live snails are healthy for turtles. Not only do they satisfy their hunger, but they also fulfill their protein intake requirements. Feeding live snails to a pet turtle can be lethal if you do not take the necessary measures.

Wild caught live snails host several parasites, which can be dangerous for the pet turtle because they can cause lung fluke. A recent study shows that several loggerhead turtles are affected by lung fluke by eating the Goniobasis Tenera (a rare species of freshwater snails). 

There is always a risk in feeding live snails to turtles, but you can do that by taking the following precaution:

  1. You should purchase live snails for turtle tanks from an authentic pet store. 
  2. Whenever you feed a garden snail to your pet, ensure that it does not host parasites or have snail bait.
  3. Never breed wild-caught snails in a turtle aquarium because turtles will try to eat them up. You better know it can be dangerous for the turtle.
  4. Do not overfeed them with snails because it can cause your turtle to fart excessively.

Can Turtles And Snails Live Together?

You can keep snails and turtles in the same aquarium depending upon the turtle species. For example, musk and mud turtles are predators of snails, so they can not be kept in the same place. Pet turtles can stay with snails, but they can also hunt snails if they need to intake protein-rich meals.

The dietary requirements of turtles change according to their age. Old turtles have inclined toward plant-based food because they can not take the same amount of protein as young ones. You can accommodate snails and adult turtles altogether because snails will be safe in this scenario. 

Snails can be an add-on to your turtle aquarium because they are omnivorous, meaning they will eat any food leftover by your pet. In short, they will clean the turtle tank water and maintains its natural cycle. You know snails can eat algae as well. They will not wipe out algae from aquariums but reduce their percentage.

do box turtles eat snails

Which Turtles Eat Snails? 

Snails are a turtle’s favorite meal regardless of their species. Young turtles devour snails in surplus because they need to intake protein for their proper growth. Whereas old turtles occasionally eat snails because their bodies do not demand too much protein. Following are some turtles species who love to eat snails:

  • Green Turtle Hatchlings
  • Wood Turtle
  • Mississippi Map Turtles
  • African Sideneck Turtles
  • Aquatic Turtles
  • Snapping Turtles
  • Box Turtles
  • Box Turtles 
  • Yellow Bellied Turtles
  • Red Eared Turtles
  • Painted Turtles
  • Musk Turtles

Which Snail Do Turtles Eat?

Turtles can munch on all types of snails because they are included in turtles’ natural diet. All kinds of snails contain nutrients, but you should avoid feeding your turtle wild snails. Following are some snails turtles can eat without compromising their health:

  • Nerite Snails
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snails
  • Green Snails
  • Bladder Snails
  • Pond Snails
  • Ramshorn Snails
  • Mystery Snails
  • Apple Snails

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Baby Turtles Eat Snails?

Baby Turtles can eat snails. Even they devour snails more than adult/old turtles because their bodies demand a significant amount of protein and nutrients to grow well.  

Do Turtles Eat Snail Shells?

Turtles usually swallow whole snails. Not all turtles can consume shells because they are hard and difficult to digest.

Do Painted Turtles Eat Snails?

Aquatic turtles are fond of eating snails. Painted turtles’ natural habitat is fresh water, and they are a slow-moving turtle species. 

Do Box Turtles Eat Snails?

Box turtles can eat up whole snails along with their shells. In the wild, they cherish eating snails, but you should not feed your pet box turtle with some preventive measures.

Final Words

Do turtles eat snails? Yes, they eat, but you should always feed your turtle weekly in moderation. In case your turtle desires to snail frequently, then feed with its various veggies like carrot, apple leaf, cabbage, grape leaves, etc., because they are full of nutrients and low in fats. Never feed your pet wild-caught snails, as they can be home to many parasites.

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Hey, I've done my Ph.D. in Marine Biology. I'm a turtle enthusiast and have been owning turtles for the last 22 years and dedicated to sharing my experience to help you in pet turtle upbringing.