Snails Survive Being Eaten by Birds—A Mystery

National Geographic News

Tiny snails can survive being eaten by birds—and the gastropods come out the other end perfectly healthy, a recent study says.

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

So Shinichiro Wada, a graduate student at Tohoku University in Japan, and colleagues fed more than a hundred snails to captive white-eyes and 55 to captive brown-eared bulbuls, another bird known to eat T. boeningi.

(And then?)

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