Snails survive being eaten by birds

Tiny snails can survive being eaten by birds—and the gastropods come out the other end perfectly healthy.

Researchers studying the poo of wild Japanese white-eye birds had noticed a surprising number of intact snail shells, especially of the species Tornatellides boeningi. This 0.25-centimeter (0.1-inch) snail is common to Hahajima Island, about a thousand kilometres (620 miles) south of Tokyo.

So scientists fed more than a hundred snails to captive white-eyes and 55 to captive brown-eared bulbuls, another bird known to eat T. boeningi.

The team found that roughly 15 percent of the snails passed through both bird species’ guts alive. One snail even gave birth shortly after emerging—apparently unfazed by its incredible journey. Learn more here.


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