Do Ducks Eat Snails? (Are They Safe?)

Ducks consume a large number of small animals daily, from insects and spiders to even rodents like mice. But what about snails? Do ducks eat them? Yes, they can and will eat snails when the opportunity presents itself.

This is especially true for ducks that are natural predators like the Muscovy or Mandarin duck, but even some of the other waterfowl species will consume aquatic snails.

Birds that consume snails as part of their diet will usually find them hiding in the plants at the bottom of the body of water, or attached to rocks, sticks, and other objects located in or near the water. Although ducks may grab them on land, it’s more likely that they’ll grab them from underwater if they see them.

Ducks will also eat dead snails that are found on land if they come across them.

Nutritional Value Of Snails

Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

Snails can be considered a good addition to a duck’s diet, they are not only tasty and nutritious, but they also contain some vitamins and minerals that are essential to the diet of any duck.

The shell of the snail is made of calcium carbonate, and snails need to keep this shell healthy and strong. They get this calcium from the water and food they consume.

The meat of the snail is very nutritious and high in proteins, amino acids, and lipids. The meat of the snails contains vitamin B, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and niacin (vitamin B3).

To benefit fully from the nutritional qualities of the snail it is best to feed your ducks live snails (and not dead ones), although it’s almost always best to feed your ducks live foods in general.

Is It Dangerous?

Eating snails is considered pretty much safe for ducks, the only danger could be that the snail that they consume is carrying a disease. Snails are not unusual for harbouring parasites and if your ducks eat a snail that has been infected with such a parasite, your ducks could become infected too.

Although it is not very common for your ducks to get ill from eating snails, it is possible.

Do Ducks Eat Water Snails?

Ducks indeed eat water sails, they are one of the most popular things that they eat!

There are both freshwater snails and saltwater snails, so if you do have access to saltwater ponds where your ducks can swim you can give them some extra nutritious treats. Of course, you must make sure that the pond is clean before giving your ducks some free range time there.

Ducks As Pest Control

Ducks are exceptional natural pest control. They will consume any unwanted plant or insect infestation that you might have in your garden.

They have an incredible sense of smell and they can crawl in the soil and find any insects that are hidden there. Ducks will search for these bugs with their eyes closed as well as with their ears up and they can sniff out any insect hiding in your garden.

Unlike other pets that would leave a visible trail for pests to follow, ducks will not leave a trail of evidence behind them, which means that you need to put in some extra effort when you are trying to find them some slugs or any other small creatures.

Ducks will eat the infestation that has been found on your plants or in your garden as well as the eggs of certain insects so this method also works great for pest control.

What Insects Do Ducks Eat

Ducks will eat basically everything that will come in their way, some of the insects that are part of their everyday diet are,

  • Mosquitoes: mosquitoes are one of the most common insects found around humans and where ducks are often found. They feed primarily on mosquitoes, which is why they are very common at bird feeders.
  • Bees: When a duck finds a bee, it will chase it. This may seem like a strange behavior on their part (as if ducks would actually want to eat bees!) but they do! Bees make an excellent source of protein and calcium so they will often take them by the wing and drop them in their bill.
  • Flies: Flies are also very popular with ducks as they make excellent food sources for ducks.
  • Grasshoppers: insects that live in moist environments. They make their home under bushes and in fields, lawns, and gardens. The dry grasshoppers may be eaten by predators or stored for later use as cricket jerky. Grasshopper populations have been shown to be high in protein but low on fat content.
  • Dragonflies: Dragonflies tend to be an underrated insect for ducks to eat. Most of the time, dragonflies are only food for larger birds like crows and hawks which is why it is rarely seen on ducks in our backyards. However, there are still some dragonfly species that are large enough to provide decent meal size in foods like hermit thrush and other similar sized birds as well!
  • Beetles: Beetles are another great source of protein for the average backyard duck, with many species being quite large and easy to catch. The larvae of beetles are also an excellent source of food for ducks.
  • Crickets are another popular snack for ducks, who need a lot of protein in their diet. They can’t be seen because they blend into the surroundings, but you can feel them moving if you put your hand over the cricket’s hiding place.


Snails are a natural prey of ducks, just like any other insects or small animals that they come across, they will happily get rid of any possible infestation of the slimy bug.