Inspired by If Spiders Were the Size of Horses, What Sound Would They Make? but relevant to my own world.

I'm thinking of a terrestrial slug or snail, the size of a large dog (Great dane or Irish setter) that uses a radulated mouth for eating.

diagram of the mouth of a gastropod

The radula is quite rasp like, so I'd imagine the sound of the 'radular teeth' against the 'jaw' would be a somewhat like insect stridulations? I haven't been able to find anything to back that up however. Maybe they'd be silent or not scale up the same way as giant bug noises, namely as they'd be for a different purpose?

What would it likely sound like?

  • $\begingroup$ Related, but not a duplicate: Giant bug Noises $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2021 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ I'll be honest with you, I was about to provide the answer, "it'll make the same noises it does right now, only at lower frequencies" when I read the post you claim isn't a duplicate and found that to be the top-voted answer. Are 2+2 and 3+1 duplicates because they both equal 4? In my book, yes. Can you explain why those answers don't meet your needs? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 13, 2021 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ OK, please be aware that we're having a relevant discussion in Meta about the question that spurred your question (Basically, what makes a question opinion-based?). It should be noted that it's impossible to know whether or not, e.g., would the radular teeth be the same size. That means you, the OP, get to decide as a rule of your world (if you leave it up to use to assume, it's VTC:OP). Also, I just Googled "what sound does a gastropod make?" and there seemed to be at least two entries that could answer your question. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 13, 2021 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ In that case I see a nasty issue with this question. There is no respiratory channel connected, there would be no airflow, no resonating cavities.. they breath in and out through the pneumostome as well, or through breathing pores. You'd end up with eating sounds.. rasping, cracking.. quora.com/How-do-snails-breathe $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Jul 13, 2021 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ @goodies to be super-duper clear, I have no intention of these snails making any sounds related to breathing. Your answer is good. $\endgroup$ Jul 14, 2021 at 1:38

2 Answers 2


There are two sounds snails make

Not including the sounds of incidental activity, like banging the shell against something or the rapid excretion of slime.

first is feeding which sounds almost exactly like taking a normal file or rasp to whatever substrate they are eating. there are long pauses as they "reset" the rasp. Of course what they are rasping matters, rasping a vegetable sounds different than a rock. This can even be used to identify what snails are eating for research. I have heard them rasping a microphone (you get them occasionally on wildlife monitoring microphones) and if I took a coarse file and dragged it across the microphone it would make an almost identical sound, just louder. It varies depending on what they are eating but also by the snail because size and arrangement of teeth on the radula are different, as well as the radula's movement speed.

snail eating a vegetable Also note that even with the best possible recording conditions a snail is completely silent when moving. Slugs make similar feeding sounds.

Second is their distress call, yes snails have a distress call, it sounds a lot like a squeak, how they make it is unknown and some think it may be a side effect of retracting into the shell. Note a sound file is included in the paper below.


  • $\begingroup$ How do you expect the sounds to change with size? $\endgroup$ Jul 19, 2021 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ @Pureferret the rasp should sound the same just louder, the sound of rasps and files changes little, and without knowing how the squeak is made it is almost impossible to say. it may just get louder or it may get deeper as well. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 19, 2021 at 13:53

Maybe clack, or slap or clap, but probably slobber, grind and crack

I take earth snails as an example for gastropods. Inside or near the mouth of a snail you won't find sound originating from the snail itself, because there is no resparatory channel ending in the mouth, no airflow is available to resonate anywhere. Also because of the soft material a snail is made of, it will also not be able to make noisy or fricative (friction-related) sounds, like hissing.

From a phonetic perspective, supposing snails would develop communication, I do see a few option for the mouth, where the odontophore (lower "jaw") of the snail is involved. It may take more coordination than an earth snail would be capable of now, but you could imagine a snail mouth could perform slapping or clacking, a whip-like movement, like a human palatal click sound. Without airflow, it would be soft.. but in a dog-sized snail, clearly audible. If the lips work a labial-labial plosive may be possible, not much airflow is needed, to let that sound. Just listen what happens if you close your lips fast, without closing your mouth.

Most obvious: a snail does make sound when it is eating ! people who keep snails in captivity can hear that, loud and clear ! A snail the size of a dog, you'd certainly hear sounds like slobbering, grinding.. cracking.. depending on the food, of course..


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