Why Is My Water Snail Not In Its Shell? (Reasons explained)

Why is my aquarium snail not in its shell?

Aquarium snails are those types of snails that live in the water, and we often have some of them in our aquariums as our pets. You might one day find out that the snail is missing in its shell which might shock you, and you would like to find out why.

Why is my water snail not in its shell? Snails don’t leave their shells, and if your aquarium snail happens to be missing in its shell, then it is dead and has rotten or another animal ate it.

Snails are born with their shell, and they grow with it, they can’t possibly leave it for any reason because it is part of them.

The flesh of a snail or inner body of a snail is very soft and fragile, while the shell being their protector is very hard and strong, so the inner body might easily be eaten by predators if they find a way to do that.

Related: How to know if your Turbo Snail is dead

Once a snail’s shell is empty, or the inner body is missing, then the snail is dead and gone.

Apart from being pulled out and eaten by another animal, snails might die of natural cause, probably due to age or sickness, and rot away if you didn’t notice on time.

The inner body being so soft and fragile will easily rot away ( decompose) but the shell is very strong and will remain intact, but empty.

So, if you happen to find out that your snail is missing in its shell, then it is dead, and you only need to remove the empty shell from your tank or leave it for hermit crabs if you have any.

Do Snails Leave Their Shells When They Die?

Snails will rot in their shells when they die, leaving them empty.

As I explained, the inner body of a snail is soft, unlike the shell which is very hard and tough, so the inner body will easily decompose leaving only the shell.

Related: Do Turbo Snails change shell?

So, snails do leave their shells when they die.

Can A Water Snail Live Without Its Shell?

Snails are attached to their shells, they won’t live without their shells till they die and decompose, leaving the shell empty.

There is no way a snail of any type, be it water snail or land snail could stay without its shell because they are not only attached to it but also the shell is its house and its protector.


If you find out that your aquarium snail is not in its shell, you might have to check if it has been eaten by an aggressive tank mate.


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