Fighting snails - these natural enemies eat them

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Fighting snails - these natural enemies eat them: natural

Because their natural enemies are absent in the garden, slugs become a mass plague in humid summers. Many gardeners then unpack the chemical club and fight the mollusks by all means. Often to the detriment of the whole garden. If you allow a natural diversity in your garden and know your animal allies, the snail problem will almost resolve itself.


Hobby gardeners are often amazed when they learn how many insects are natural enemies of the snails. There are unexpectedly many insects, for the snail eggs and adult specimens are a sought-after prey. Almost all carnivorous insects attack the slimy pests. Not all, however, are able to kill a snail. For some insects, washed-out specimens of the pests are simply too big. However, some insects have become very successful snail hunters. Above all, many beetles and their larvae

Beetle larvae and beetles

Even the larvae of some beetle species, especially the larvae of fireflies, use snails as a source of protein. The larvae of the fireflies feed almost exclusively on them over a period of several years. They simply follow the mucus trail and kill their victims with poison bites. Other beetle larvae, such as the red-yellow larvae of the soft-beetle family or the larvae of the modern beetle, have specialized in snail hunting. Even adult specimens of the defenseless and slow snails are easy prey for them.
Various ground beetles, such as the leather beetle, the golden beetle, shovel runners and gold bars are specialists in snail hunting. Because of their preference for the molluscs they are referred to in the English-speaking world as "snail hunter beetles", in German "snail hunter beetle". In Ash-cheeks and some short-wing beetles, the mollusks are also on the menu. The best known are the black snail hunter, the gravedigger and the black fashion beetle.

Centipedes, spiders and ants

Nocturnal centipedes specialize in the eggs of garden pests and do not disdain even young snails when they find their way. Also popular are snail eggs in various spider species. These include many Weberknechtarten such as shoemaker and kanker. One of these species even bears the name Schneckenkanker because they feed almost exclusively on snails. Individual ants have little chance against the sticky mucus produced by the mollusks for defense. But as ants usually go in search of food in large numbers, they can overcome the slimy snail defense and kill the snail.

flying insects

Different flies, that is, the fly larvae also hunt down the garden pests. The best known example is the horn fly, whose larvae feed almost exclusively on the molluscs. In English, they are therefore nicknamed "snail killing flies", in German "snails killing flies".

Settle insects in the garden

In a garden close to nature, with as many different herbs, flowers, shrubs and trees as possible, insects feel at ease and easily find a habitat suitable for their needs.
  • Set up corners in the garden wilderness and leave it to yourself
  • Deadwood, leaves and stones provide a habitat for numerous insects
  • Herb beds and rock gardens are insect paradises
  • Attach small and large insect hotels to suitable steles
  • Plant flowers and bushes with different flowering times
Many insects not only help to fight the pests biologically, they also serve as food for other animals in the garden.


Amphibians and snakes

As valuable helpers in the fight against snails, toads are known. If you have toads in your garden you do not need to worry about snails. Although some people are disgusted by these not exactly beautiful amphibians, but in the snail fight them no other animal reaches the water so fast. Common toads are common in our latitudes and are always welcome to gardeners who know their bargain hunter skills. A little rarer are garlic and toadstools. Still rarer are obstetricians and green toads. Slugs, which are often regarded as snakes but belong to the furrows, also eat nudibranchs. Also different frogs, the fire salamander, the alpine salamander and lizards. For small frogs, salamanders and other small-sized amphibians, however, there is a restriction in the fight against snails. Large specimens of molluscs can not eat them. Only young animals are on their menu. Nevertheless, they are useful helpers if the mollusks are to be biologically prevented from propagating and spreading.The snail's snake is one of the native snakes, whose prey also counts nudibranchs. Unfortunately, the harmless snakes are rarely found in the garden.

Amphibians settle in the garden

Amphibians spend part of their lives on land and most of them in the water. A spacious garden pond, designed according to the needs of the animals, is therefore indispensable for amphibians to settle and make their contribution to a snail-free garden.
  • The amphibian pond should be designed close to nature
  • Optimal is a sunny to partially shaded location
  • A water surface of 20 square meters is recommended
  • Flat shore areas and a central low area are important
  • Steps in the pond should be covered with a gravel sand layer
  • Native aquatic plants provide hiding places and spawning grounds
  • Amphibians love nutrient-poor water without much movement
Dogs and cats are enemies of useful helpers. Dogs see them as toys, cats as potential prey and should be kept away from them if possible. Similarly, the garden should remain poison-free for the amphibians.


Together with moles and shrews, the native brown-breasted hedgehog is one of the most successful snail hunters. The active at twilight and at night animals are now increasingly in human settlements, where they find food and shelter. Hedgehogs are, unlike many times suspected, no vegetarians. On her menu are the mollusks as well as ground beetles, earthworms, centipedes and other insects. Miniature and domestic pigs are no nuisance for slugs. However, a welfare of the cuddly and clean housebroken animals with a lot of effort and is not for everyone.


Birds, together with toads and hedgehogs, are the most industrious snail hunters. When the young slugs hatch from their eggs in the spring, they become the coveted prey of many species of birds. Blackbirds, thrushes, magpies, herons, starlings, storks, rooks are enemies of the snails and welcome helpers when the garden pests are to be fought biologically. Almost all songbirds eat snails. Provided her prey is not too big. Like all birds, songbirds have the problem that their beaks have no teeth to bite their prey slugs. The intelligent birds, however, have developed in the course of their evolutionary history, a method, as they can prepare the beaks to their favorite food sort of beaked. They use a stone, the so-called Drosselschmiede and smash the captured snail on it until they can eat them easily.

Ducks and chickens

Chicken as a snail killers

In addition to the domestic songbirds and ducks and chickens are considered excellent helpers in the fight against snails. Especially Indian ducks and khaki-campell ducks are natural enemies of molluscs and very successful in snail hunting. It is said that a pair of ducks is enough to keep a large garden snail-free. The garden must also be big for the attitude of the ducks. In addition, the flightless animals need a stable for the night, a pond and always a partner to really feel comfortable. Chickens are also very good for freeing gardens of snails. The feathered animals are a little less demanding than ducks, but also need a stable and a large garden, which gives them enough exercise.

Settle birds in the garden

Blackbirds, thrushes, starlings and other birds need a quiet place where they can raise their young from enemies. If you offer the snail hunters suitable nesting sites, you can settle relatively easily in your own garden. Of course, the food supply in the surrounding area must be right. Birds need a varied food supply with different prey animals. Above all, insects are on their menu. Who wants to ensure that birds are home in his garden, which should at the same time ensure that even insects feel well again. In this way gardeners gain two allies, who fight for them the enemy in their garden.

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