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Growing a shell is a significant material and energy investment for a snail. They have lots of predators which can easily eat them, having beaks which can pick them out or teeth strong enough to break the shell. Those which are not big enough to have a strong enough jaw, are small enough to be able to reach inside the shell.

Why do snails still have shells? Is there a large group of animals which cannot eat snails because of their shells, and would be able to if the snails had no shells?

I'm thinking of commonly known land snails.

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    $\begingroup$ What research have you done before asking it here? $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' May 14 '17 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ Just think about what animals eat animals the size of snails but do not eat snails. lots of small predators do not eat snails. Its like turtles, are there things that eat turtles yes, but there are far fewer turtle predators than predators of other reptiles of the same size. $\endgroup$ – John May 14 '17 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ @John : my argument would be that if a predator is small enough, it can reach or crawl inside the shell though the opening where the snail retracted itself. Could you please provide an example of a predator which is incapable of eating a snail, but would eat one if it had no shell? $\endgroup$ – vsz May 14 '17 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ You may want to familiarize yourself with snail anatomy, the opening is not left open. $\endgroup$ – John May 14 '17 at 13:24

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