Backyard Buddies

Photo: Doug Beckers


Go Back

The leaf litter in your garden is perfect for snails who need a moist atmosphere to survive in.

Snails can be infuriating when they graze on your newly planted veggie patch. But they also like to feed on dead plant and animal material and fungi.

There are over 1000 species of native Australian snails and slugs but most of the snails and slugs we find in our gardens are not natives.

Introduced snail species generally arrived accidently in Australia on potted plants, or stuck to packing cases, pallets and shipping containers. The introduced common garden snail has lived in Australia for over 100 years. They live everywhere and the lack of natural predators means their numbers have exploded. Many birds will eat them, including your backyard chickens, but the widespread use of snail pellets has made many potential predators learn to avoid eating them.

Snails can play an important part in decomposing organic matter in your compost bin.

Snails are an important food source for crows, ravens and blue-tongue lizards so think twice before you reach for the snail pellets. Dead snails can make the animals that eat them sick and will discourage native animals from visiting your garden.

Related Factsheets:


Worms have both male and female organs, but they still need another worm in order to reproduce. They lay eggs which hatch after about three weeks. Earthworms don’t have lungs, and instead breathe through their skin! Worms are made up almost entirely of water, and so they love to be in d..



”BYB shows that people can make a positive difference to conservation efforts in Australia. Learn, explore and love your bit of wilderness.“

Michele – National Parks Ranger, NSW

Photo: OEH