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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda
Horn snails
Family Potamididae
updated Oct 2016
if you learn only 3 things about them ...
You are almost certain to see these large snails during a visit to our mangroves.
Many are edible and were eaten in the past, less so these days.
Most are harmless herbivores, nibbling on algae.

Where seen? Horn snails are common in our mangroves but often overlooked. Some are tiny. Others like the Rodong, are large.

Features: Shell long and conical. The operculum is made of a horn-like material usually with a tight spiral pattern. The Chut-chut (Cerithidea obtusa), Belitong (Terebralia sulcata) and Rodong (Telescopium telescopium) have a third eye on their mantle margin, in addition to a pair of eyes on tentacles.
Here's more on how to tell these snails apart.

Sometimes confused with Creeper snails (Family Cerithiidae) which also have an operculum made of a horny material but with only a few whorls. Horn snails have siphonal canals that are less pronounced and they are generally larger than Creeper snails. More on how to tell these snails apart.

What do they eat? Horn snails graze on detritus and algae growing on the bottom or other surfaces such as tree trunks. Many feed at low tide, some in very large groups.

Horn snail babies: Members of this family have separate genders. The male transfers a sperm packet into the female. Eggs are laid in a gelatinuous mass on hard surfaces or the muddy bottom.

Human uses: Many Horn snails are eaten by people. Rodong (Telescopium telescopium) is said to be delicious when steamed and eaten with chilli. Chut-chut (Cerithidea obtusa) is boiled and eaten by biting off the tip and sucking out the animal. Even the small Belitong (Terebralia sulcata) is also said to taste good.

Rodong snails mating?
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Mar 06

The Red Chut-chut snail (above) and
the Black Chut-chut snail.
Pasir Ris, Jun 10

Operculum with tight spiral.
Kranji, Jan 10

Horn snails on Singapore shores


Familty Potamididae recorded for Singapore
from Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore.

  Family Potamididae
  Cerithidea alata
Cerithidea cingulata
(Girdled horn snail)
Cerithidea djadjariensis
Cerithidea microptera
Cerithidea obtusa
(Red Chut-chut snail)
Cerithidea quadrata
(Black Chut-chut snail)

Telescopium telescopium

Terebralia palustris
Terebralia sulcata



  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.
  • Tan, K. S. & L. M. Chou, 2000. A Guide to the Common Seashells of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.
  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • Ng, P. K. L. & Y. C. Wee, 1994. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened Plants and Animals of Singapore. The Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 343 pp.
  • Abbott, R. Tucker, 1991. Seashells of South East Asia. Graham Brash, Singapore. 145 pp.
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