Do Ducks Eat Snails? Let’s Find Out!

So you are witnessing a nasty snail infestation in your backyard. Or maybe you want to provide your pet duck with a more natural diet.

Now you’re wondering do ducks eat snails?

Yes, they do! Snails encompass numerous benefits that help ducks grow. They’re an amazing source of nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium, minerals, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. Each benefitting your duck one way or another. However, you’ve to inspect them before letting ducks eat the snails.

Are you still confused? Well, don’t worry! Because here we have answered your queries. Plus, included everything you should know about feeding snails to your duck.

Keep reading to find out!

Can Ducks Digest Snail Shells?

Can Ducks Digest Snail Shells

Yes, they can! If you’ve ever seen ducks eat, you might have noticed this.

They don’t discriminate too much with what they’re eating. Or how quickly they swallow the food. And they do it without even chewing anything.

The same thing applies when they are having snails. So you might ask what the heck happens to those shells?

Ducks, just like most birds, tend to swallow rocks and grit. It helps them in crushing foods like seeds and shells. These rocks usually remain stored in the gizzard of ducks.

Also, with the assistance of their strong muscles, they crush those shells easily. And thus they are digested.

Benefits of Ducks Eating Snails

The idea of your favorite pet duck eating snails seems a bit gross to you, doesn’t it? 

However, keep in mind that snails can be an incredibly beneficial food item for ducks. They are a prominent source of nutrition. Because of that, feeding them to your duck brings various benefits to their health.

Here we have provided a snapshot of a snail’s nutritional value below. Go through the list to find out.

Rich in Protein Content

Snails are generally an incredible source of protein. The amount of protein in them is relatively similar to that of pork or beef.

During their first 2 to 3 weeks of life, ducks need about 22% protein. So, this is very crucial for the quickest production. 

Great Source of Calcium

Calcium is another element present in snails that are very beneficial to ducks. Especially those ducks that are actively laying.

In fact, ducks that are actively laying do need up to 3 times more calcium than normal ducks. So it’s very significant to give them some additional calcium sources.

Not only that, calcium helps in the formation of your duck’s muscles, wings, and bones.

Feeding them snails can help improve their fertility as well as their muscles.

Low in Fat Content

Snails are usually low in fat. One average size snail contains around 7 calories.

So you don’t need to be worried that your duck might gorge too much on them. Due to being a low-fat food item, it won’t cause any harm.

High Amount of Iron

Iron contains a very special element that facilitates healthy blood function in ducks. It increases the amount of haemoglobin in their blood. 

It helps keep the duck’s red blood cells active and healthy. Plus it helps the oxygen to be carried through their blood effortlessly.

Great Source of Vitamin A

Snails are also a fantastic source of vitamin A. It includes various vital functions for the ducks. Also, helps in boosting their immune system, improving and preserving their vision, and generating necessary red blood cells.

Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Snails also contain a satisfactory amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. This fundamental fatty acid acts as a building block of the cell membranes in ducks. It can help lessen any type of inflammation in your duck.

High Amount of Minerals

Snails incorporate minerals like selenium and magnesium. Selenium is one very potent antioxidant. It helps the blood vessels carry sufficient oxygen.

Plus, the anti-inflammatory effects present in minerals are beneficial for your duck in various ways.

Risks of Ducks Eating Snails

Risks of Ducks Eating Snails

Until now, we have only discussed how snails can benefit your ducks.

When reading you surely have wondered if are there any risks, as well.

Well, there is. There are some risks that come with letting your duck consume snails without your inspection. Let’s find out about them.

Harmful Pesticides

In case you’ve been applying pesticides to your garden area to keep the snails away. Make sure not to let the ducks get in there. The toxic chemicals in pesticides can harm your pet. If the duck consumes snails that may have been exposed to pesticides. It’s extremely hazardous for them.

Infectious Parasites

A snail can also act as an intermediate host for the parasites. For example, the gapeworm. By consuming those snails, your pet duck can be exposed to the chances of being infected.

Gapeworms infect the trachea of ducks. It also impedes their airway. In extreme cases, it can lead to asphyxiation in your pet.

So, if you want to give the ducks access to snails in the garden. You have to diminish any risk of the tapeworm. You can plough the soil of the duck’s pen. Also, allocate a dewormer to the ducks. Do this every 20-30 days. It will considerably decrease residual infection. 

Consuming Larger Snails

Snails may come to be harmful to ducks to eat if they’re very large. As in, larger than usual.

Snails tend to create a sticky and mucousy coating. Larger snails create a heavy proportion of it. Due to this, a snail that is too big for ducks can get stuck in their throat. 

So, always look out for the size of those snails.


Do mallard ducks eat snails?

Mallard ducks usually have an awfully big appetite. They tend to devour quite anything. This type of duck gobble any slugs, snails as well as any backyard insects they find. Also, being omnivorous, mallard ducks actually love munching on those snails they find in your backyard!

Are there any risks to ducks eating snails?

Yes, there is. Sometimes the snails can be infected with parasites. Or maybe affected by the pesticide you’ve used in your garden. If your duck consumes these affected snails, there is a high chance it’s going to get sick. 

Is eating gapeworm-infected snails bad for ducks?

Gapeworms mainly affect your ducks by living in their windpipe. It leads to breathing and respiratory problems for them. They tend to be 1 – 2cm long and are extremely lethal if not treated. Then the situation even worsens over time and it can lead them to death due to suffocation.

Wrapping Up

Hope we’ve cleared your question about do ducks eat snails. Now you know that it’s totally fine to add snails to your duck’s diet. 

However, stay alert when allowing your ducks to roam. Never let them gorge on some snail they found in your backyard without your inspection. It should ensure their safety.

That’s all for now. Have a great day!

Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan

Ryan Dugan is a dedicated pet care professional who offers top-notch services for a variety of pet species. He has a soft spot for my own feline companion, Sophie. He is passionate about animals He shares his knowledge and experience on his blog to help other pet owners understand and care for their own beloved companions. Whether you need a pet-sitting service or advice on pet care, He is the go-to expert.

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