Like all other organisms, there have been several adaptations to help serve snail's nutritional needs.

Since little is known about Patera clarki, we will look at nutrition and digestion of Stylommatophora in general.

Photo credited to Rick Gillis. Pictured is the radula of a snail and the teeth made of chitin.Terrestrial snails diet can vary and these snails are mainly herbivores and omnivores, but some are carnivores (Carnegie, 2012).  They are described as being “generalists” meaning they don’t have a specific diet or food they mainly feed on (Carnegie, 2012).  Herbivorous land snails’ diet consists of algae, decomposing matter, leaves and stems of plants, wood, bark, and fungi (Carnegie, 2012).

All terrestrial land snails possess a radula, a membrane with teeth made of chitin, which is used to scrape food such as algae (Carnegie, 2012). Mackenstedt and Markel compare the teeth of the radula to those of a shark; while the chitin teeth in front are being used and broken, new teeth are being continuously formed in the back (2001).

After entering the buccal cavity, food is begun to digest by two salivary glands, which secret mucous and amylase (Dimitriadis, 2001).  The saliva will help remove food from the radula and help food pass to the oesophagus (Dimitriadis, 2001).  The food will pass into the oesophagus (similar to the esophagus in humans) and continues into the gastric pouch (stomach) where it only spends a short amount of time before entering the digestive gland (Dimitriadis, 2001).  Nutrients are absorbed in the digestive gland and the wastes are sent through the intestines and out through the anus (Dimitriadis, 2001).

In addition, terrestrial snails need to acquire calcium for their shells; they do this by consuming soil or rocks (Carnegie, 2012).  Snail’s shells are made of calcium carbonate, which birds need an abundance of when breeding so they can successfully form egg shells (Allen, 2004).  This is why birds prey on snails.

Snails have been known to build up toxic heavy metals where pollution occurs (Allen, 2004).  They concentrate the metals in their bodies, some more than others depending on species and age (Rabitsch, 1996).