Do Snails Bite? The Complete Guide

My brother brought home a giant African land snail but has since been wary of his pet shelly. So he asked, Do snails bite? To answer him correctly, I dived into the world of snails and learned a ton of stuff while at it. Keep reading to learn more about my findings.

So, do snails bite? Yes, snails can bite but not in the way and manner you would expect because their biting force is too weak to leave you with an injury. A snail bite may feel like a brush rubbing your skin. However, some wild snails are capable of delivering painful bites. 

Snails are adorable pets that would rarely hurt you intentionally.

Why do Snails Bite Humans?

Snails are known for their large number of teeth best suited for feeding on leaves and vegetables. Sometimes when owners pick them up, snails misunderstand the hand’s skin as a vegetable peel.

Snails have a lot of teeth, which are only good for feeding on leaves and vegetables. When you pick up your shelly, they may mistake the skin on your hand to be vegetable peel. 

They make attempts to eat but considering their weak biting force, their bites do not penetrate human skin.

The most probable cause of biting in snails is hunger. When your shelly gets hungry, they try to eat just about anything around them that looks or feels like vegetables. 

Does Snail Bite Hurt?

Depends on the type of snail in question, the average garden snail has about 14,000 teeth called Radula, located on their tongues. In most cases, the bite of a domestic snail feels like your fingers are being tickled.

Wild snails are some of the few snail species capable of biting that can cause injury. If you handle a wild snail, chances are they will peel your skin off in a continuous manner until you start to bleed.

The rasping of the skin tends to cause a lot of pain, but that is not all. They go on to suck the blood for a couple of minutes until they have had enough.

Wild snails may look like their domestic counterparts, but do not be fooled because they are predatory. Their diet includes blood, so they feed on other animals for their blood. They also stick so hard, making it difficult to remove them when attached to the body.

Are Snail Bites Poisonous?

In most cases, snail bites are not poisonous and will not harm another animal. However, the Marine Cone Snail is poisonous. These snails are so poisonous, that a single bite can paralyze a fish or smaller sea creatures. 

So you must be thinking if the cone snail’s poison has any effect on humans, the answer is No, and this is true for cats and dogs as well, unless one has a weak immune system.

How to Stop a Snail From Biting You?

There are not many reasons why a snail will want to bite you. The reasons can be narrowed down to hunger or not wanting to be picked up by you. Here are some steps to put an end to your pet snail’s bites.

  1. Feeds your pet snail properly by ensuring their diet is rich in green leaves and vegetables.
  2. Make sure your pet snail is fully acquainted with you before you try picking them up. 
  3.  If your hands are dry you risk irritating their skin, so they may bite you to protect themselves. To avoid this, make sure you wet your hands properly before picking them up. 

A common habit among babies is biting, a sign that your pet snail does not trust you enough. All you have to do is give your pet snail some time while building trust. In time, it won’t hide in its shell or attempt to bite your hand while holding it. 

Related Questions

How many teeth do snails have? Depending on the species, their teeth can range from 1000 to 20,000. For the average garden snail, this is around 14,000 teeth, while some other species can have up to 20,000 teeth. 

Do snails bleed? Yes, snails bleed when cut. Though their blood is not red, it appears bluish due to the presence of Haemocyanin. However, few species like the Ramshorn snail have red blood.