Can Aquarium Snails Survive Out Of Water? [No, Here’s Why…]

Image of snails in an aquarium

Snails are found worldwide. They thrive in a wide range of environments. Many snail species are found on land, but an equal number of species can be seen living in the water. So, can aquarium snails survive outside water?

Aquarium snails cannot survive outside the water for too long. They can only live out of the water till their body is wet. Once the body dries up, they die. Usually, they survive outside the water for only a couple of hours. Some snails come out of the water to lay eggs but go back before drying up.

Amongst the numerous snail species, not all snails like to explore surroundings outside the water. Let’s now talk about the duration and reasons why aquarium snails cannot survive out of the water.

Why Can’t Aquarium Snails Survive Out Of Water?

Aquarium snails need to remain wet for their survival. Water is the pre-requisite for them to thrive. So, seldom will you notice an aquarium snail coming out of the water.

When not in contact with water, aquarium snails can survive until they are wet or their body remains moist. Once the snail dries up due to exposure to air, it will eventually succumb to death.

On the other hand, snails like the pond snails and ramshorn snails rely on lungs to breathe. They survive a little longer than those snails that breathe oxygen through gills. However, these snails cannot live for too long either. Though they can breathe oxygen from the air through their lungs, they still cannot survive for an extended period. The chances of a snail’s survival increase as long as its body remains wet or moist.

Alright! So, aquarium snails do require moistness for their survival. Now, let’s understand how long can different species of snails survive outside the water.

How Long Can Snails Survive Out Of Water?

Currently, there are more than 60000 species of snails in existence. While there are so many snail species, the amount of time that every snail species can survive without water varies. It also largely depends on whether a particular species of snail is gill breathing or lung breathing. The chances of the latter surviving outside the water are more.

Also, as per some aquarists’ experiences, larger snails stand a better chance to survive a little longer than the smaller ones. This is mainly because of their ability to seal themselves up, breathe air, and slow down metabolism from being in a hibernation-like state.

Now, let’s have a better look at the popular snail species and the duration they can survive outside the water.

  • Nerite Snails: Nerite snails are one of the popular species among aquarists as they help to keep the tank clean. Besides, these snails are attractive and help in adding beauty to the aquarium. Almost all aquarists have different experiences of nerite snails’ survival outside the water. Some people have experienced their snails surviving for around 12 hours outside the water. On the other hand, few people have seen nerite snails surviving outside of water for as long as a month in the wild. This is because nerite snails are intertidal and experience dry spells in their natural habitat.
  • Blue Mystery Snails: Blue Mystery snails look gorgeous due to their calming light blue color. Unlike nerite snails, blue mystery snails can live a little longer outside the water due to their breathing ability. Besides, their need for water is lower as compared to other snails. However, if the water level is high, blue mystery snails find it difficult to acquire sufficient air. This is because they need to breathe air every once in a while. So, you may sometimes find them climbing on the sides of the tank. Since they need a lot of air for their survival, blue mystery snails may survive for a couple of days outside the water. After that, once they dry up, they will die if not returned to the water.
  • White Ivory Mystery Snails: The white ivory mystery snails grow very large and are best suited when kept with medium and small-size fish. These snails are aesthetic and help clean up the tank by eating the left-over food and blanched kales. Like most of the other snails, white mystery snails cannot live for long outside the water. They can survive for a day and will eventually die once they dry up.
  • Giant African Snails: Giant African snails prefer a hot and humid climate. They are native to East Africa and are found in Florida and Hawaii. These snails do not require aquatic habitat for their survival. However, they need to keep their bodies moist to thrive. Giant African snails consume mostly plant-filled diet. This diet helps them get as much water as they need to keep their bodies moist and hydrated. So extreme temperatures pose a severe threat to their existence. Therefore, these snails develop a method of semi-hibernation. This helps them in the formation of epiphragm to trap the required moisture for survival.
  • Ramshorn Snails: Ramshorn snails are aquatic snails. However, they breathe air through their lungs. This enables them to survive outside the water for a few hours or even for a few days at times. Larger ramshorn snails have a better chance of surviving for a longer period outside the water than their younger counterparts. Snails that are either too old or too young lack the necessary metabolism to survive outside the water.
  • Great Pond Snails: Great pond snails are aquatic species that are found in freshwater habitats. They lack the operculum, making it difficult for them to survive outside the water for too long. The operculum in gastropods is essential for snails as it prevents the snails from drying out quickly when outside the water. However, great pond snails tend to dry up quickly outside the water and may not survive for more than a couple of hours.

Can Bladder Snails Survive Out Of Water?

Bladder snails are found in warm freshwater and prefer slow-moving or stagnant water. They also survive at the banks of large lakes.

The moss bladder snail can temporarily tolerate falling dry of its home water. They even prefer their pond falling dry that is rich in vegetation. This is because, even if the pond is dry, these snails can survive on detritus and decaying leaves that have fallen into the water. Their body remains moist due to the vegetation.

Related Further Reading:

Why Do Snails Come Out Of The Water?

Aquatic snails usually do not come out of the water. These snails come out of the water only when they have to lay eggs. After laying eggs, they immediately return back to the water before drying out.

On the contrary, some people have seen their snails crawling to the surface of the water. It is presumed that their snails are breathing oxygen from the air through their lungs.

In the wild, Pomacea snails are sometimes hidden during the day and remain inactive. They come out at night to find food. In their natural environment, snails may leave the water to forage for food.

Okay! That was all about aquatic snails. But what about the other way round? Have you ever wondered whether land snails can survive in the water?

Can Land Snails Survive Underwater?

Just like aquatic snails cannot survive on land for too long, land snails cannot survive in water for a longer duration.

Pulmonate land snails usually drown very quickly. They cannot survive even for a day in the water. On the other hand, operculate land snails can survive much longer in water than pulmonated land snails. The operculate land snails can survive for a long period if the operculum makes a good cover.

The operculate land snails use a seal or lid to close their shell. If the seal is tight, water does not enter inside the body. That is why they can survive or remain submerged under the water indefinitely. Geomelania (Truncatellidae) land snails are the best example of this as they do not drown in water and can stay submerged under the water for extended periods.

Interesting Further Reading:

Final Thoughts

Aquarium snails cannot survive outside the water for too long. They can survive only till their body remains wet or moist. As soon as their body dries up, they die.

Water snails come out of the water to lay eggs and soon return to water before their body dries up.

Just as aquatic snails cannot survive outside the water, land snails cannot thrive underwater for too long. Land snails can drown and die in water.

On the contrary, operculate land snails survive underwater for longer periods due to the seal that prevents water from entering their shells. Thus, they can remain submerged under the water for long periods without much difficulty.