The Japanese white-eye or mejiro, for example is widespread in Japan and feasts on tiny land snails. Scientists found out that 15% of the snails eaten by these birds survived digestion. These snails were found to be alive when the droppings of these birds were examined.
This has led scientists to speculate that predation by birds may be one of the factors in how snail population spreads. The fact that plants seeds get dispersed by birds that eat fruits is well known.
Though it was known to scientists and researchers that pond snails could survive after being eaten by fish, but the same for land snails was unknown
Researching on this topic, scientists fed the birds with the snails in the lab to find out whether any survived the digestive process.
“We were surprised that a high rate, about 15 percent, of snails were still alive after passing through the gut of [the] birds,” explained researcher Shinichiro Wada.
This is the first study that shows birds can indeed transport a substantial number of micro land snails in their gut alive”
The research further showed how one snail helped identify how numerous snails.
The main factor allowing the snails to survive being eaten is their small size, according to the scientists.