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what do snails and slugs like to eat best

What Do Slugs and Snails Like to Eat? | Best Snail Foods

Most slugs and snails are omnivores they can eat nearly everything.

However, if they have the choice, they turn into real gourmets.

For example, cucumbers, tomatoes, and wilting lettuce leaves are at the top of their list of favorite foods.

Video: What to feed snails?

General Considerations

Another real favorite for many snails is yeast.

Yeast can attract snails from a radius of 100–200 yards.

This is why many people lure them into their garden with beer traps (not a good idea).

Usually, they eat dead plants, fungi, dead animals, and excrement. Most slugs are scavengers.

slugs eat carrion excrement
Slugs dispose of all kinds of waste.

Healthy plants are eaten by only a few species. These can become pests in horticulture and agriculture.

Commonly known slugs are Spanish slugs (Arion vulgaris) and field slugs (Deroceras reticulatum).

Slugs and snails like to eat:

  • cucumber slices
  • rotten tomatoes
  • soaked wheat bran/oatmeal
  • dead animals/carrion
  • wilting plant remains
  • most lettuce leaves
  • cabbage leaves
  • grapefruits
  • eggshells
  • carrots
  • kohlrabi leaves
  • young dandelions
  • young parsley
  • ripe strawberries
  • watermelon

The tastes of slugs and snails vary depending on the type of slug/snail.

They also tend to love a varied diet and lose their appetite for things that are available regularly.

Learn more about slugs & snails

Slugs and Snails (Collins New Naturalist Library)The Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane
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Carnivorous Slugs & Snails

Some species are carnivorous and predatory; they can even become cannibals.

Some hunt other snail species and eat them alive. An example of this is the leopard slug (Limax maximus).

This massive and ‘fast’ slug even attacks other adult slugs and snails.

Video: Leopard Slug Eats Young Spanish Slug

The eggs of other snails can also be on the menu of predatory snails.

The garden snail (Cornu aspersum), for example, likes to eat the eggs of other slugs and snails.

Usually, the garden snail does not have an appetite for healthy plants.

garden snail eats plant
The garden snail is not a pest, but a beneficial animal. This is one reason why it is protected in some European areas.


Usually, snails are not particularly interested in healthy living plants.

They prefer to eat the readily available dead plant parts and mushrooms.

Therefore, they are not usually considered as pests and are even welcomed by gardeners.

By processing dead plants and animals, they contribute to garden health.

At the same time, they produce humus and thus fertilize the soil.

Cucumber is also loved by snails.

Snail control for single plants

To protect young plants use for example:

  • plant covers
  • garden cloches
  • slug collars.
Protective Plant CoversGarden ClochesSlug Collars
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Video: Snails & cucumber

What Do Snails Eat in an Aquarium?

In aquariums, snails also serve as waste recyclers.

They eat dead plant remains and uneaten fish food.

If they find a lot of food, they can multiply explosively.

This can happen as they lack natural enemies.

To prevent snail booms in aquariums, you should not feed fish too much and you should observe closely how much food your fish need.

Everything left over by the fish can be eaten by the snails.

Snail food: for aquatic slugs and snails

Sinking Food for Shrimp, Snails, Bottom Feeders Sinking Diet for Snails, Shrimp & Bottom Feeding Fish
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Land Slugs

Basically, the general list applies to most land slugs.

However, depending on the species, they have different preferences.

Almost all slugs are composters and scavengers that prefer dead food.

However, there are also the abovementioned leopard slugs, which hunt and eat living slugs and snails.

Slugs often can be found near and on roads and paths, as it is more likely that they can find carrion and droppings there.

Sometimes, there are so many that they start eating dead conspecifics which have been killed by the traffic.

In agriculture, it is mainly the field slug that causes problems.

Field slugs can infest entire fields; for example, they can infest young rape plants.

In European gardens, it is the Spanish slug that causes the most damage. It has similar preferences to vegetable lovers.

what do slugs like to eat
You can attract slugs with soaked wheat bread, wheat bran or oatmeal.

They also like tomatoes and cabbage leaves.

With these baits, you can even construct slug and snail traps.

Many flowers, such as dahlias, hostas, zinnias, and sunflowers, are loved by garden slugs.

These flowers can be used to create ‘sacrificial beds’, which will lure the snails away from other vegetable and flower beds.

Here, you can find a list of vegetables, herbs, and flowers loved by slugs and snails.

immortelle slug safe flower
Snail-resistant flowers and perennials.

Slug Control with copper for raised beds, planters & pots

Control slugs with copper and use, for example:

  • copper-tape
  • copper-mesh
  • copper-wire.
Slug Repellent Copper TapeCopper Mesh FenceCopper Wire
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Which Plants Do Slugs & Snails Not Like?

For gardeners, it is good to know which plants are not eaten by slugs.

If you know them, you can save yourself a lot of trouble.

There is an abundance of snail- and slug-resistant flowers: annuals and perennials.

Most flowers have natural defense systems against slugs, which have been bred out of many common vegetables.

Like humans, most slugs and snails do not like to eat bitter fruits.

Bitter substances and hard leaves and thorns are mechanisms used by plants to protect themselves against their predators.

The fact that many plants have lost these substances through breeding is one of the many reasons behind slug and snail population booms.

However, there are natural remedies to control against slugs and snails without using poison or violence.

For example, you can try to use old varieties that still have defense systems against slugs maybe by being a little more bitter than other varieties.

You can also attempt to increase biodiversity and thus attract as many natural enemies of slugs as possible to your garden.

Here, you can find a list of slug-resistant vegetables and herbs.

Books about Slugs & Snails

Slugs and Snails (Collins New Naturalist Library)The Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane
Check prices on AmazonCheck prices on Amazon

Further Information

Methods to control against slugs and snails:

Slug barriers

Slug and snail deterrent paint

Electric slug fence

Slug-resistant flowers and flowering plants: perennials and annuals

Homemade slug and snail control

Runner ducks against slugs and snails

Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Slug Repellent Copper TapeMetal Slug Fence | Set
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Sheep Wool PelletsSlug Collars | Set
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Last update: April 3,  2022

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Alexander Boeckmann

Gardening in harmony with nature.

7 thoughts to “What Do Slugs and Snails Like to Eat? | Best Snail Foods”

  1. I have an old seat cushion that has been in the garden for over a year. Suddenly almost over night it looks as though it has been stabbed and slashed with a knife. I have been told that it is probably snails. Is someone joking with me or could they be right?

    1. Thank you Shannon, very good question!
      To be completely honest with you – I don’t know.
      May someone find an answer for you!

  2. I have garden slugs that come on the front porch nightly at 10 p.m. They like graham crackers crumbs even after 6 months.

  3. I feed mine on porridge oats which are harmless and contain 10-11% protein and less than 1 part in 10,000 salt.

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