10 Things To Do With Snails From Your Yard

by | Slugs & Snails, Snails

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If you’ve collected snails from your yard or you keep finding them on your plants, you’re probably wondering what to do with all of them.

You can relocate snails to another natural area or humanely kill them by feeding them to birds and other predators, which is how most snails die in nature. Collected garden snails can also be drowned in soapy water, frozen, or dehydrated with salt.

Photo of a wood trap to collect snails in the yard
This picture shows a snail trap, which makes it easy to collect snails in a yard.

Now let’s look at all the things you can do to get rid of these snails…

In this blog post, you’ll get 10 things to do with snails collected from your yard.

Relocate them

If you don’t want to kill the snails you collect in your yard, relocate them to another natural area where they can live out their life.

Snails have a homing instinct and can find their way back to your yard, so you’ll need to relocate them at least 65 feet (20 m) from your house to stop them from finding their way back.

Freeze them

To freeze snails to death, place them in a plastic bag or container and put them in the freezer. Leave them there overnight to die, then throw them away, put them on a compost heap, or bury them in the soil to return nutrients to the land.

Putting snails in the freezer kills them because they don’t have enough time to prepare their body for the cold and to go into hibernation. If you want to know the fascinating story of how snails survive icy temperatures out in nature during winter, read my blog post on snail hibernation.  

Feed them to birds and animals

Snails are quite low in the food chain, and most of them get eaten at some point in their life.

One way to rid your yard of snails is to feed them to birds and animals: Collected snails can be placed on a tray that has ground eggshells, sandpaper, cat litter, 100% pure petroleum jelly, diatomaceous earth, or rough lava rock around the edges, so the snails can’t crawl out. Put the tray out in the open so birds and animals can eat the snails freely.

You could also start keeping animals that eat snails to keep the snail population under control.

Here’s a list of some of the things that eat snails:

  • Ants
  • Beetles
  • Chickens
  • Ducks
  • Firefly larvae
  • Frogs
  • Geese
  • Ground beetles
  • Koi fish
  • Opossums
  • Shrews
  • Squirrels
  • Toads
  • Turkeys
  • Turtles
  • Wild birds, such as thrushes, wild turkeys, and crows

Eat them

Yes, you can eat snails from your yard – if you take a few steps to prepare them, as follows:

  • Collect the snails you plan to eat
  • Don’t feed them anything for two days, then give them a carrot
  • Wash them regularly with clean water
  • Once their poop turns orange, their system is clean and they are ready to be eaten
  • Wash the snails again and put them in a sealed glass jar in the fridge, to go into a state of hibernation
  • They’re ready to be boiled and are usually eaten in a buttery garlic sauce

I’ve never done this so I’m no expert, but Gordon Ramsey is so you know I had to go and find a video that shows you how to do this (don’t worry, he doesn’t scream in this video)…

Cut them with scissors

Many people give snails a quick death by cutting them with scissors or chopping them in half with small trowel. Chopped snails can be left on the ground to decompose or thrown in the bin.

Sometimes a decomposing snail can attract ants. If you have a problem with ants, it’s probably best to throw the snails away.

Salt them

Snails die within minutes when you put enough salt on them, but snails must come into direct contact with salt for it to kill them.

Put snails on newspaper and sprinkle them with salt, then wrap them up and throw them in the bin. Don’t salt snails on the ground or on plants, as the salt could burn or damage the plants and other wildlife.

Snails on plants can be sprayed with a strong salty water solution, which needs to be washed off the plants within a few hours so the salt doesn’t cause any damage.

To find out why salt is such a good snail killer, check out my article on how snails die with salt.

Drown them in soapy water

Snails come out when it rains for a reason – they need to keep a good balance of moisture in their body (click here for all 9 reasons why you see snails when it’s rainy).

Throwing snails in soapy water makes it impossible for the snails to breathe and maintain the water balance in their body, so they soon die. It’s important to add some dish soap to the water as this is what drowns snails quickly and effectively.

Use ammonia

Ammonia is a strong disinfectant used in cleaning and it’s freely available in stores and to order on Amazon. But it also kills snails.

To kill snails with ammonia, fill half a spray bottle with ammonia and the rest with water. Shake the bottle, then spray the diluted ammonia directly onto snails.

This solution also kills snail eggs, which is a great way to get the snail population under control. A snail can lay up to 400 eggs a year, so killing snail eggs before they hatch stops all those baby snails from growing up and laying another 400 eggs each per year.

Click here to find out what snail eggs look like and how to find them.

Once the snails die, water them into the ground to dilute the ammonia and feed the soil.

Drown them in beer

Snails love beer – but beer doesn’t love them because they drown in it.

Here’s how to set a beer trap to kill snails:

  • Wait for rain or water your yard, to draw out snails.
  • Now set a beer trap by putting a small plastic bowl in the ground. Put the bowl deep enough to leave 1 inch above the ground or cover the trap with a loose lid that lets snails get to the beer, but doesn’t let other insects fall in by mistake.
  • Fill the bowl halfway with fresh beer.
  • Check the trap each morning for dead snails, and throw them in the garbage. Empty out the trap and put fresh beer in every night until you no longer find snails in the morning.

If you don’t want to make your own beer trap, you can buy beer traps from Amazon.

Spray them with coffee

Coffee kills snails and makes a great pest deterrent all round.

To kill snails with coffee, make a weak cup of coffee. Spray it directly onto snails or drown them in a bowl of coffee. Wait for the snails to die, then throw them away or put them on a compost heap.

Here’s a list of all the pests that coffee deters or kills, and why coffee is so toxic to animals and insects.

I'm Monique. I love gardening and spending time in my backyard growing things. Here's where I share what I know about backyard pests and what to do about them, so you can enjoy your yard too.

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Monique loves gardening and spending time in her backyard, where she grows flowers, succulents, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Monique spends a lot of time researching how to protect her backyard from harmful pests and trying to attract beneficial insects and animals.

She shares everything that she learns and tests here at Backyard Pests.


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