Although snails and slugs usually migrate to settle within your attractive vegetable patch, they are known to occasionally venture into the warmth of your home, making this foreign land their own. But why do we find these slimy creatures outside our pond or backyard? Why do they set forth to travel inside our homes, entering our comfort zones?
In a nutshell, snails and slugs may enter your house to further their search for nutrition, mainly in the form of mold derived from moisture and humid conditions. They seek to take shelter in a damp, cool and warm environment, showing off their keen fondness for the shades of dark.
Do you sometimes wonder whether snails and slugs are moving indoors? Are you seeing peculiar trails of mucus around the house but can’t spot a single shell insight?
In order to keep those little snails and slugs at bay, it will be helpful to understand why they might tend to venture inside your home in the first place. Therefore, without further ado, let’s find out together…
Your Vegetables Are Attracting Them
Slime, Slime, Slime!
Snails and slugs, what’s the difference, you ask? Basically, slugs are snails without shells. Both are members of the phylum Mollusca class within Gastropoda. Slimy, little fellows as they are, snails and slugs move around in the dark, leaving behind them a trail of mucus for others to find.
For snails or slugs to enter your house, they must already find themselves within close proximity to your property. Of course, for them to casually continue their journey in search of nutrition, inside, they must have first found a means of survival outside.
Therefore, if you have a garden with some vegetables, plants, or flowers in close proximity to the house, it is more likely that snails will eventually end up finding their way inside your home, one way or another. Especially when leaves are positioned in the close vicinity of windows and doors. In order to prevent sails from going astray, it is advised, as always, to keep your property clean.
In short, the more green you have outside, the more potential snails you will find inside.
If you’re finding that snails are indeed making their way into your home, you may want to look into a draft excluder.
Basically, a draft excluder will block off any gaps between your door and the floor, or window and base. You’ll often find these gaps in apartments and older homes, but they also help to keep your heating and cooling bill lower and helps to avoid dirt from sneaking its way in from outside.
In our case, we’d be using them to keep snails at bay.
While you’ll want to look for specific products that fit the build of your home, a good starting point is the Suptikes 2 Draft Excluder, if you fancy.
They’re in Search of Nutrition
Generally speaking, it should go without saying that animal activity is primarily motivated by survival; even though we tend to attribute individual personality traits to animals, it often says more about ourselves than it does about the species in question. It is essential to keep this in mind, as what constitutes as a minor inconvenience for us often signifies a sheer struggle for survival for them.
For snails and slugs, the story isn’t any different. Hence, their primary reason for venturing inside your home is a dedicated search for nutrition.
With over 43 000 species, snails and slugs are soft-body, nocturnal animals that roam around the lands and waters on earth. The main difference between the two is that slugs do not come equipped with a shell to protect the lurking softness underneath. On average, both animals can live up to 25 years, depending on their condition and living environment.
In general, snails and slugs are highly fond of pants and will eat almost any kind of leaves they can find. Besides plants and their decaying organic material, snails are fond of calcium, which can be readily found in green vegetables such as lettuce, zucchini, kale, spinach, and cucumbers. So beware of any leftovers in the house.
Interesting fact: Snails and slugs have a radula, which we can compare with a tongue. Their radula serves to scrap food and consists of numerous rows of tiny, regenerative teeth.
Lastly, snails and slugs are happy to eat algae and mold (a type of fungus) when possible. Mold can be found indoors, especially in damp and humid corners of the house.
Algae, however, are harder to find inside as they require a significant intake of light to thrive on. That said, algae can spread from your garden to the exterior of your house. This means that when they manage to find their way to the algae on the outside, they can more easily slip inside.
Therefore it is advised to remove the algae from your walls, windows, doors, or roof whenever possible. The same goes for the mold you find inside the house. This can be done by using water and soap or by making use of a professional stain remover.
For more information concerning ready-made sprays, have a look at the Wet and Forget Stain Remover.
Basically, the Wet & Forget solution focuses on removing mildew, moss, and algae stains. So, even if you don’t have snails finding their way DIRECTLY onto these stains, they may be attracted to the scent and are trying to get close to it.
So, just get rid of the mold, algae, fungus, or whatever nasty things may be unpurposely growing in your home.
Quick tip: Make sure to check the ceilings and corners of your bathroom, as the steam from your shower can accelerate the growth of these stains.
They Love the Dark
Unsurprisingly, both snails and slugs are nocturnal animals. This means they find it most comfortable to remain hidden in the dark and avoid trailing off under the sun when possible.
Usually, you will not even find the snails or slugs themselves, as they often relocate after a good night’s sleep. Therefore, you might, unfortunately, come across their slimy trail of mucus instead. When you do actually find a snail or slug inside your home, you will note that you do so, most likely in dark corners of the house.
Furthermore, slugs are snails without a shell, meaning they are even more prone to searching for shelter. Indeed, a snail’s shell can serve as a shelter, besides its main purpose, and protection against dehydration. Additionally, a snail’s organs are somewhat attached to the shell, meaning it would succumb to its wounds if the shell were to be removed.
The Thrive in Damp and Humid Environments
It is clear that saltwater and freshwater snails or slugs thrive on water. However, land snails also have a daily need for water. Therefore, it is not surprising that these tiny creatures prefer to take shelter in a damp and humid atmosphere.
Indeed, snails and slugs will shelter in places of humidity, for instance, close to:
- water boilers
- laundry rooms
These are spots in the house where water vapor is potentially released into the air. There, you will readily find traces of moisture and a general feeling of wetness. As snails try to prevent from drying out, they will genuinely bath in joy when spotting such a humid environment inside your home.
On top of this, snails like to feed on mold. This means that they will not only find shelter in a humid space, but can actually find something to eat there as well. That’s right; mold actually thrives on moisture. Hence, the more damp in the house, the more mold that can build up inside.
Quick tip: The best way to avoid humidity in general is to regularly ventilate the house. Open a window – Cooks are warned!
Food for Thought
Finally, although we often consider snails to be a pest, they are eaten and furthermore seen as a delicacy in some parts of the world, as is undoubtedly the case in France and Spain. Thus, a peculiar reason for snails to enter the house is through an informal invitation onto your dinner plate.
In France, snails and their subsequent dish are called Escargot. A serving of cooked edible snails seasoned with garlic. In Spain, snails and their subsequent dish are called Caracoles and often come served with Mediterranean herbs or a spicy tomato sauce.
Caution: Do not eat the wild snails you come across!
The species most edible is called the Helix pomatia, and the chances that you find this fellow in your house are slim(y) to none, as they are native to Central Europe.
Interestingly enough, it is illegal for American chefs to import live snails into the country. As a response, we have seen a rise in snail farming in recent years. In case your curiosity is still not settled, snails a reported to have the savory (salty) flavor of a mushroom, with the chewy texture of a clam.
Interesting fact: Snails are considered to be quite healthy. This is best reflected in the fact that there exists a deep history of studies looking into the relation between snails and medicine. Besides their low amount of fats, snails are a rich source of protein, iron, Vitamin A, and calcium. Furthermore, various reports are indicating the usage of snail mucus (the slime) as a treatment for the skin. Indeed, in the world of cosmetics, there exists a niche in Snail beauty products.
While this article’s goal isn’t to get you hooked on the benefits of snail products, you might be interested in this Snail Repair Cream-Moisturizer. Super interesting.
Rest assured, no snails were harmed during the making of this product.
How Do Snails and Slugs Get Inside The House?
Although being relatively slow when compared to the average burglar, snails and slugs are masters at breaking and entering.
Interesting fact: Snails can pass away when their shell breaks. However, depending on the graveness of the fracture, snails can repair their shells as well. Overall, make sure to be careful when relocating snails and slugs once you’ve found them trespassing in your home.
To enter the house, there are several routes of entry that are popular amongst our slimy friends. In general, they can squeeze themselves through any hole or space they come across, most commonly through little holes in the floor or tiny cracks in the sealing. However, they can also enter the house near gas or water pipes and openings in windows and doors.
Interestingly enough, one of the smallest known land snails to man, the Angustopila Dominika, is said to be ranging between 0.30 and 0.86 mm in size. As such, they can easily fit through the eye of a needle. However, there is no reason to take out the magnifying glass, as these tiny fellows are today only found in southern China.
Tips to Keep Snails and Slugs Out!
Although these slimy fellows are pretty harmless, they can be rather inconvenient when proceeding to settle indoors. Here we provide you with a couple of tips to keep them out.
First of all, the key is to discover their route of entry. Once you have correctly identified the way snails or slugs enter your house, it is advised to block their path of entry as thoroughly as possible.
Even large to normal-sized snails can easily manage to slip through a small crack. This is especially the case for slugs, as they come without a hardened shell. As to prevent them from slipping under a door, you can always make use of tape or a draft excluder. Especially when you have a door or window close to the garden, it is best to seal off any gaps, both on the inside and outside.
You can use a premium product like Duck Tape or the draft excluder we mentioned earlier.
In the end, when you do stumble upon the path of a snail inside your home, you can safely remove it by putting on a glove, wetting your hand, and placing it gently underneath the snail. Make sure to discard or wash the glove afterward.
In case you want to avoid dirtying your hands altogether, you can also gently push the snail onto a piece of carton. Eventually, after safely placing the snails back outside, you will want to clean up their trails of mucus to avoid other snails from following in their tracks.
When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your local animal control. You can also trust and contact our nationwide network of pest and wildlife control professionals to find a contractor near you for free within a matter of seconds.
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Cowie, R. H. (2011). Snails and slugs. In Encyclopedia of biological invasions. University of California Press.
Escargot World. 2021. Snail Farming on the Rise in the USA in 2020 – Escargot World. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 March 2021].
Godan, D. (1983). Pest slugs and snails. Biology and control. Springer verlag.
Hendricks, P. (2012). A guide to the land snails and slugs of Montana. Helana, MT: Montana Natural Heritage Program.
Hollingsworth, R. G., Armstrong, J. W., & Campbell, E. (2002). Caffeine as a repellent for slugs and snails. nature, 417(6892).
Law, M., & Davies, P. (2018). Land and freshwater molluscs. The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences.
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Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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