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Posted by on Oct 17, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

How Do Snails Eat?

How Do Snails Eat?

The common snails you find in gardens and yards come out mostly at night to feed on leafy plants. Each snail has a special ribbon-like tongue that is covered with hundreds of tiny teeth.

The tongue is called a radula (“little file”). The tiny teeth on the radula file off bits of plants as the snail crawls about.

The snail finds its food with two pairs of tentacles (feelers) on its head. On the tip of each of the longer tentacles is an eye. The shorter pair is used for smelling. A snail can smell food from several feet away and make a beeline for it.

They are often said to be very noisy eaters. However, the sounds you hear aren’t them consuming the food. Instead it is a part of the body called the radula which is tearing on what has been swallowed so it can find its way to the digestive tract.

Most snail species are herbivores, which means they have only a plant diet, but some species are carnivores, which means they eat flesh and they have a tongue that can bore holes into the shells of other snails so they can reach the soft flesh inside.

You will likely find snails around your garden as this offers them plenty of fresh plants and leaves to eat.

Content for this question contributed by Rachelle Imbery, resident of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, USA