Thrush Anvil

Thrushes (Turdidae) feed on snails, but they may encounter difficulties with the shells of larger snails if they are too large to be swallowed at once and too solid to be broken. In these cases, thrushes tend to use a suitable stone as anvil to shatter the shells.

snail anvil

This special stone is therefore termed thrush anvil or snail anvil. The birds tend to return to their stone, and shattered shells accumulate around this stone. The photos on the left demonstrate that thrushes are significant predators of common banded snails (Cepaea). The photos were taken in 2003 near Rostock, Germany.

thrush anvil

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