Turtles eat snails in their natural habitat. However, wild live snails sometimes host harmful parasites that are fatal to turtles. Pet turtles should be fed snails in moderation because high protein intake leads to pyramiding and other health issues.
So, turtles definitely eat snails. However, it doesn’t mean that snails should be a part of their daily diet. Let’s understand this in detail.
Why Do Turtles Eat Snails?
Turtles are not fussy eaters and eat almost everything available around them.
For example, they eat snails because they are part of turtles’ natural diet.
Several critters like worms, slugs, snails, etc., form a part of the turtles’ diet in the wild.
Moreover, turtles love to hunt and eat live food than veggies.
Snails contain good protein supplements that meet turtles’ dietary requirements and hence are favorites among turtles.
Besides, snails are a big part of the diet for some turtle species like musk turtles.
Are Snails Good For Turtles?
Snails are good for turtles if consumed in moderation. This is because snails form an excellent protein source for turtles.
Besides, snails contain other nutrients like Vitamin A, Potassium, and Calcium that are crucial for a turtle’s healthy development.
The immunity of pet turtles differs from that of wild turtles.
Wild turtles perform a lot of activities and hence have better digestion ability than captive turtles.
Pet turtles depend on their owners to fulfill their nutritional needs. Therefore, they need a well-balanced diet to stay healthy.
You need to be careful about feeding excess snails to turtles.
Consuming too many snails can be harmful to turtles as it results in protein overdose.
In addition, excess protein intake can lead to pyramiding and other health complications among turtles.
If your turtles devour snails, you can feed a couple of snails as a treat every week.
Also, canned snails are an excellent option for pet turtles.
You can purchase canned snails from the local market. These are farm-raised deshelled snails packed in natural juices.
While it’s safe to feed deshelled canned snails to turtles, you need to be careful while feeding live snails.
What Precautions Should You Take While Feeding Live Snails To Turtles?
Feeding live snails in moderation is healthy for turtles. It satisfies their palate and fulfills their protein requirement.
However, live food can prove fatal to turtles if appropriate measures are not taken while feeding them.
Live snails can contain harmful parasites. So, feeding wild-caught live snails to pet turtles is dangerous.
They can contain harmful parasites that can cause lung fluke to turtles which can be deadly.
Most of the time, snails act as an intermediate host for various parasites and pathogens.
This study shows how several loggerhead turtles were affected by the lung fluke infestation caused by the goniobasis tenera.
It’s an extinct species of freshwater snails with an operculum.
Although there is some risk in feeding live snails to turtles, you can take the following measures to ensure that your turtle doesn’t get infected:
- Always purchase live snails from reliable pet stores.
- You can feed live garden snails to turtles, provided the snails are not exposed to any pesticides or snail bait.
- Never breed wild-caught snails in a turtle tank. In all probability, turtles will try to consume the snails. If snails contain any parasites, they can prove fatal to turtles.
Alright! Now let’s see if turtles and snails can be housed together.
Can Turtles And Snails Live Together?
Whether or not turtles and snails can co-exist depends on the turtle species and their dietary requirement.
For example, mud turtles and musk turtles devour snails, and hence you can’t keep snails with them.
Besides, pet turtles are more likely to make a meal of the snails if they are used to eating animal protein in their diet.
Nevertheless, once turtles start aging, their nutritional needs change.
As a result, they incline toward eating more plant-based food for sustenance. Hence, snails are safer with adult turtles.
Snails are an excellent addition to a turtle tank since most snails are omnivores and eat any leftover food in the tank.
So, in a way, snails help clean the tank. Besides, some snails like mystery snails and apple snails also eat algae.
They may not entirely get rid of the algae but definitely help to reduce it.
However, there are varying views among aquarists when it comes to keeping turtles and snails together.
For example, some aquarists have successfully kept snails and turtles together.
In contrast, others have complained about missing snails in a matter of few days.
If you intend to keep turtles and snails together, you can do the following things to increase the chances of snails’ survival:
- Introduce snails to a turtle tank after the turtles have grown up.
- Create ample hiding places in the tank using plants, rocks, and decorations for snails to hide.
- Large-sized snails can be housed with turtles as their chances of survival are more.
Which Turtles Eat Snails?
The majority of the turtles eat snails. Snails are a part of a turtle’s natural diet.
The only thing to remember is that young turtles are more likely to munch on snails than older turtles.
Older turtles may occasionally eat snails.
Some of the common turtle species that eat snails are:
- Musk turtles,
- Painted turtles,
- Red-eared sliders,
- Yellow-bellied turtles,
- Mud turtles,
- Box turtles,
- Snapping turtles,
- Aquatic turtles,
- African sideneck turtles,
- Mississippi map turtles,
- Wood turtles, and
- Green turtle hatchlings.
Which Snails Do Turtles Eat?
Turtles eat all kinds of snails that they can chew and digest in their natural habitat.
The common snails that turtles eat include:
- Apple snails,
- Mystery snails,
- Ramshorn snails,
- Pond snails,
- Bladder snails,
- Garden snails,
- Malaysian trumpet snails, and
- Nerite snails.
Do baby turtles eat snails?
Baby turtles can eat small to medium-sized snails. They prefer a carnivore diet to meet their protein requirement.
Snails are good protein supplements and hence can be included in their diet.
However, baby turtles may not be able to break or chew the snail shells.
Hence, they swallow the other soft parts of the snail and discard the shell.
Can turtles eat snail shells?
Snail shells are hard for turtles to crush and eat. Moreover, not all turtles can break and digest snail shells.
Hence, turtles usually swallow entire snails.