How Long Can a Snail Go Without Food or Water?

Snails are fascinating creatures. You might have noticed these little creatures scattered around your garden. Though over time snails haven’t changed that much, they have learned to adapt to the modern environment.

Surviving at times means going without food for long periods. That must make you question how long can a snail survive without food? 

Most species of snails can go around 3-4 weeks without food. However, some species like the giant African land snail can survive up to 5 months without food. Studies show some snails can survive up to 8 months without food even in the hardest conditions. 

Also, Snails hibernate over winter and don’t eat food during that time. As unique as they are snails are quite underappreciated. In this article, we will help you learn just a little bit more about these fascinating creatures. So let’s get right into it. 

What Does a Snail Usually Eat?

Even though they are small, snails are known to have a big apatite. You will likely find snails around your garden or plants. This is because the garden offers plenty of greens for a snail to eat. They usually eat small leaves, fresh plants, and even lying around eggshells! 

Most snails are vegetarian. While plants and leaves are more preferred, some snails consume fungi and mushrooms. However, some species of snails enjoy dead animals and other dead organic matter. On the other hand, some species of snails like to feed on slugs and earthworms.

Usually, snails look for food during the night. They are known to consume more food when winter approaches since they hibernate. Altogether, their whole organism is incredibly unique and should be talked about more. Their diet can also be very useful to your garden. As they mostly feed on waste. 

How Long Can Snails Go Without Food?

Snails live both on land and underwater. These snails can be seen around your garden, in an aquarium, or in your nursery area. We’ve talked about what they usually eat, now we learn how long they can go without eating. So let’s learn about a few of these species: 

1. Garden Snail 

Garden snails are known to have a big appetite. They usually eat ten percent of their weight every day. Might seem like a lot for a little snail but it’s enough for them. Also, garden snails are vegetarians and feed on all sorts of greenies. 

A garden snail can last 3-4 weeks without eating. However, they don’t usually skip meals and tend to have a big diet. But in situations where they have to be without food, a garden snail can live for a hefty period. However, Garden snails are not picky eaters and eat most types of vegetables. 

2. Giant African Land Snail

Giant African land snails are found in the African jungles. While a lot of Africa is surrounded by savannas and jungles, nature can be harsh sometimes. During these natural calamities, an African giant snail can survive up to two months without food. 

3. Milk Snail 

Milk snails are a beautiful species of snails. Unfortunately, not much research has been done on this species. But some of its unique traits help this kind to stand out. 

Milk snails can go about a week without food. This is the minimum amount of time any species of snails can live without eating. Milk snails can also make great pets! 

4. Freshwater Snails 

One of the most known freshwater tank snails is spike topped apple snail. These species of snails are mostly popular because of their colorful outlook. 

Spike topped apple snails can go about 3-4 weeks without food. Since this species isn’t too familiar with the wild, their bodies are less adapted to survival without eating. As for the other freshwater snails, they all share similarities to the spike-topped apple snails. 

While hibernating most of these snails do not eat and don’t require any snacks during their long fast. In extreme cold snails can hibernate for up to three years. 

Related Read: How Long Can a Squirrel Live Without Food and Water?

How Long Can a Snail Survive Without Water?

Now let’s talk about aquatic snails. Most terrestrial snails don’t require water as much as they need food. However, that’s not the case for aquatic snails as their natural habitat is in the water. Let’s talk about a few species of snails that need water and how long they can survive without it: 

1. Ramshorn Snails 

Ramshorn snails are mainly an aquatic species but they are capable of breathing through a lung-like organ. This allows them to survive without water for a few hours to a day. However, depending on the size and age the amount of time they can survive also varies. 

2. Nerite Snails 

Nerite snails can survive up to 6 days without water. This unique species of snails have both grills and lungs therefore, throughout their lives they spend as much time on land as they would on water. 

3. Great Pond Snails 

Great pond snails can only survive up to a couple of hours without water. 

Can You Keep a Snail as a Pet?

Maybe by reading this article you have come to a better understanding of our little friends. So much so that you want to get yourself a pet snail. If that is the case, congratulations. Snails are great as pets as they make no sound, are easy to monitor, and are easy to maintain!

Here are a few things you should know before getting a pet snail: 


Snails can be both terrestrial and aquatic. To put it simply, some snails live on land while the others live underwater. Knowing which type of snail you want is the first step. 


To survive snails need to maintain a sturdy shell. Hence, talking to the vet and knowing the right diet is extremely important. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. How Many Types of Snail Species Are There?

There are over 60,000 thousand species of snails. 

Q. Can Snails Live Underwater?

Aquatic snails can live underwater 

Q. How Do Land Snails Drink Water?

It varies from snail to snail. However, most snails drink water from puddles or by eating watery leaves. 

Q. Do Mystery Snails Hibernate in Aquariums?

With enough food and a stable temperature, they don’t need to hibernate at all. 

Q. How Long Can a Snail Live?

An average snail lives around 3-7 years. 


Snails are fascinating creatures. They are natural survivors and have adapted to living without eating for as long as they can. However, it does depend on what species they are. 

But most importantly, knowledge about nature is incredibly important. And I hope you could learn a little bit more about these beautiful little creatures. Thank you for reading, Goodbye.