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How Long Can Snails Go Without Water?

How Long Can Snails Go Without Water?

Since most snails live on the water, the question “how long can snails go without water” might not have crossed your mind until now. But if you are one of those guardians who have terrestrial snails for company, this query might pique your curiosity. 

So, let’s dive in. 

How Long Can Snails Go Without Water?

Snails need water to secrete slime for conducting daily functions. As a result, they need to consume a healthy amount of water daily. However, they can live without water for a couple of days by decreasing their water usage in dry conditions. 

So, it’s not likely that your snails will die of thirst immediately. But if it has been days since you last poured them a drink, it could lead to dire consequences – even death.

Did you know that snails have permeable skin that allows them to suck in water? 

In fact, not only that, but they also drink like every other animal. Thanks to evolution, they can quench their thirst in more than one way. 

Can Snails Survive Without Water?

Who would? Even bacteria cannot survive without water. So, snails are no exception to such impossible ideas. Therefore, no, snails cannot survive without water. 

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How Do Snails Drink Water?

Snails have permeable skin through which they absorb water to hydrate their body. And similar to mammals and avians, they can drink water from their mouth. 

But there’s more to this phenomenon than what meets the eye.

Snails have the ability to move over a damp surface and hydrate their bodies. Research has shown that snails’ “drinking behavior” isn’t initiated unless they have been dehydrated to the threshold level of 60 to 70% of their initial body mass. 

But if they haven’t reached this precipice, they will not show the above-mentioned behavior, or you could say they won’t directly drink from the source. 

This suggests that if you have been misting your snail enclosure regularly, there’s no need for you to keep a water bowl for them to drink from. 

Do Snails Need A Water Bowl?

If you are housing your snails in an enclosure, you need to place a water bowl as a water reserve. But make sure the dish isn’t too deep. Also, snails can dirty the water by bathing in it, so change the water every other day. 

How Do You Give Snails Water?

You can use a bowl or plate to hold water for your snails. However, do not fill it too deeply. This can drown your snails. Also, change the water daily or once every two days. 

Another way to provide water to your snails is by misting their habitat. Snails can absorb water even from the tiniest of droplets. Watch this video, and you will be amazed at how snails drink water.

What Can I Use As A Water Dish For Snails?

As I mentioned earlier, you can make any utensil a water dish for your snails. A bowl or a plate will be good enough to hold water for your little friends. The only word of caution is not to fill it completely – as it can drown them. 

How Often Do Snails Drink Water?

Snails won’t drink water unless they are dehydrated to 60 to 70% of their initial body weight. If their habitat is humid enough, they will absorb moisture from it – thus, no need to drink water. So, snails will only drink water if there’s no dampness in their environment. 

How Long Can Snails Last Out Of Water?

On average, most snails can survive up to 10 to 24 hours out of water. But there are instances where they have come unscathed even after spending 72 hours on land. Their ability to survive outside of water depends upon temperature, humidity, age, and species. 


Like with us, water drains faster from a snail’s body in a hotter environment and slows down if it is cold. So, if the snail is outside water and in a colder temperature, it will survive longer than the average estimation. 

Humid Level

If the air has more precipitation, your little pals will have less difficulty surviving without water. Their permeable skin allows them to soak moisture from the air and rehydrate their bodies. 

Using this water from the environment, snails secrete mucus, which helps them in locomotion and other bodily functions. 

So, if the humidity is high enough, your slimy friends won’t have any problem doing well on land. 


With over 43,000 species in the snail family alone, there will undoubtedly be several breeds, or hundreds, that have their own threshold of surviving outside water. 

For example, terrestrial ones like garden snails will not need to dive into a pool of water to rehydrate themselves. 

However, aquatic species are solely dependent on water and can die if they cannot find water bodies to hydrate themselves on time. 

Can You Mist Snails With Tap Water?

Check the content of your tap water before misting your precious snails. If the water has high fluoride or sodium concentration, you are better off without using it. 

Most snail keepers use bottled water, but that is still a misconception because they contain minerals, too. So, read the label carefully before you mist your snails. 

As a responsible snail keeper, you should first check the water content in your snail tank. 

Here’s a master kit from API that I use to check water parameters for my snail tank. It is available for both freshwater and saltwater snails. 

How Often Should You Mist Snails?

For terrestrial species like the garden snails, you can mist their habitat every other day. But remember that misting refers to spraying, not drowning your beloved pet with water splashes. And make sure the water is not too hot or cold. Also, do not use a garden hose. Instead, use a spray bottle. 

Final Words

Snails are unique in their own way. Their bodies act as sponges that mop up water from their surroundings. 

It is a common misconception that snails hydrate their bodies only by drinking. 

Because the only time snails drink water from their mouth is when their bodies are dehydrated to an extreme level, when the water content is below 60% of their initial body weight. 

And in the scenario when there’s no water in their vicinity, they can still use the water reserve in their body, helping them survive for a couple of days. So, the answer to how long can snails go without water is anywhere from 2 to 3 days. 

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