do birds eat slugs and snails

The main aim of slugrings is to provide a really effective solution that is completely safe to all other wildlife and plants. Slugrings dont actually damage the slugs and snails, they just create a very bad taste when their slime reacts with the copper. It is so unpleasant for the mollusc it simply turns them away.

This means that when using slugrings you will still have slugs and snails in your garden for other wildlife to feast upon, and attracting predators is a great way to help reduce the numbers naturally. But what animals actually eat slugs and snails? Most people are aware that birds will eat them, and many will have heard that hedgehogs enjoy them too… but are there any other predators you can attract to help?

All of the UKs native frogs, toads and newts will eat slugs and snails. Basically if they can fit it in their mouth they will eat it! More mature frogs and toads have bigger mouths and will therefore eat your bigger slugs and snails. Its worth keeping an eye out when mowing long grass or digging to avoid injuring any that you have in the garden. If you have space a pond is a great way to attract them, if you are short of space even an old bucket or sink will work. Just ensure you include aeration plants and access in and out of the water, burying it is a great option!

Slow worms and common lizards eat slugs, leaving areas of the garden with piles of leaves and woody matter will help attract them. We rebuilt our compost area and found 5 slow worms underneath! We were careful not to scare them too much and they moved right back in after the upgrade 🙂

Not all birds will eat slugs and snails, but most of the slightly larger ones will. Thrushes, blackbirds, robins, starlings, gulls, jays, magpies, seagulls and owls are all known to eat slugs and snails. Attracting birds is quite easy, feed them and they will come! Add a birdbath, nesting box and plenty of undisturbed trees or shrubs and you should see plenty of avian predators in your garden. They also eat other garden pests like leatherjackets, a win all round!

Ground beetles and rove beetles both include slugs and slug eggs in their diet. There are about 350 species of ground beetle and 100 species of rove beetle. They will vary in size from 2-30mm in size and are common garden predators. Particularly useful for eating those tiny slug hatchlings that can consume a plant in hours! Most active from March to October they can be coaxed into your garden in areas of uncut grass or wildflowers.

Hedgehogs, shrews, mice, moles, squirrels and even foxes include slugs and snails in their diets. Once again leaving small areas of the garden with longer grass, undisturbed hedges or banks and wood piles will all attract these vertebrate predators!

One of the smallest and most deadly predators to slugs are nematodes or eelworms. They occur naturally in our soils and are parasitic creatures that enter the slugs bodies and infect them with bacteria that causes the slug to decompose from within! Nematodes are now bred to be used as a slug control and are a great combination with slugrings for any organic gardener.

Slug control in your garden does not have a single quick fix, and in fact slugs are an essential part of your garden ecosystem as they are one of the garden finest composters. It is best looked at as a fine balance, where natural predators keep numbers in check, and you can use slugrings to keep them away from individual plants!

Step 2: Brick Island and Water

do birds eat slugs and snails

do birds eat slugs and snails

do birds eat slugs and snails

Place the brick in the middle of the birdbath. To prevent the slugs from escaping, make sure the brick stays away from the birdbath’s edges. Now fill it with water, adding no more than 3 to 5 cm (1,1 to 2 inches) to the birdbath. This is because we dont want hedgehogs to drown. The poor bastards arent that smart ;).

Introduction: Teaching Birds to Eat Invasive Slugs/ a Poison Free Slug Killer

do birds eat slugs and snails

do birds eat slugs and snails

do birds eat slugs and snails

By assisting/forcing invasive slugs into the food chain, this project is not cruel!

The slugs have taken over the gardens in Denmark, where I reside. There weren’t many slugs in our garden even five years ago, but they’ve since moved here and are still laying eggs. They are disgusting and eat our flowers and veggies, which is why there are thousands of them in our garden because they have no natural enemies here. All of the slugs in this photo were actually discovered in a mere 2 m^2 of our garden in about 5 minutes when we gathered them for this project. Gross!.

However, since the slugs have only recently arrived, birds, hedgehogs, and other animals can eat them; they are just unaware of it. Thus, the strategy is to train the hedgehogs and birds to consume them.

What you need:

  • A brick
  • A birdbath
  • Water
  • Too many slugs

How it works: Water is necessary for birds and hedgehogs, but slugs cannot swim. When the birds and hedgehogs come to get a drink, they will notice the slugs if you place them on the brick island each time you find one, preventing it from escaping. And finally, when they discover that they can eat them, they will naturally begin searching for them elsewhere in your garden! In other words, this is not a brutal method of getting rid of your slugs—rather, it’s a way to assist/push them into the food chain. Many people kill their slugs with poison or salt, but this method works just as well—you’re feeding the birds and hedgehogs instead!

Step 1: ​Do Not Make the Slugs Suffer – Find a Place in the Shade

do birds eat slugs and snails

We don’t want them to suffer, even though this is a slug killer. As a result, you need to position the birdbath in a shaded area to prevent sun-induced drying out.

Additionally, be careful not to unintentionally push the slugs into the water as you place them on the brick—again, we don’t want to cause them to suffer by drowning.

FAQ

Will birds eat a slug?

Many birds, such as starlings, blackbirds, geese, and killdeer, feed on slugs throughout the fall and winter months.

What eats slugs in the garden?

There are many types of animals that feed on slugs: beetles (ground beetles, rove beetles, fireflies), toads, snakes, turtles, shrews, ducks, starlings and other birds. Encourage these natural enemies when practical in your garden. Be aware that using pesticides to kill slugs may also harm these natural enemies.

Who eats slugs and snails?

Vertebrate predators of snails and slugs include shrews, mice, squirrels, and other small mammals; salamanders, toads and turtles, including the uncommon Blandings Turtle Emydoidea blandingii; and birds, especially ground-foragers such as thrushes, grouse, blackbirds, and wild turkey.

What preys on snails and slugs?

Snails and slugs have many natural enemies, including ground beetles, rats, pathogens, snakes, toads, turtles, and both domestic and wild birds. Most are rarely effective enough to provide satisfactory control in the garden.