Snails are crawling creatures which are always found in the bushes, wet lands areas, river banks and forests of the world, especially in the tropics. There are many types of snails which can be identified by the environment in which they are found: Land snail, Fresh water snails and Marine snails.
The snail is a shell bearing animal, which has four (4) tentacles. Two of its tentacles are used for touch and smelling while the other two are used for sight. Some examples of Snail Archachatina marginata, Achatina achatina
CHARACTERISTICS OF ACHATINA ACHATINA
- They are small in size
- They have a rounded apex
- It could be grey in colour
- Lays eggs that are small of about 200 – 300 eggs per growing season
CHARACTERISTICS OF ARCHACHATINA MARGINATA
- They are very big in size
- They have a pointed and more sharper apex
- They could be black in colour
- Lay big eggs but in a small quantity, about 5 – 10 eggs per growing season
The Archachatina marginata and Achatina achatina are the most popular species whose economic viability has no comparison of snails’ production. It has the ability to lay about 180-200 eggs per raining season (i.e. 18-20) eggs per clutch and ten clutches per snail per season. These eggs hatch into the hatchery between 20-30 days of their lay.
SETTING UP A SNAILERY
- Location of farm must be close to the farmers’ house.
- Soil Type: The soil must be rich in humus and other decaying plant and animal residue. The soil must contain sufficient lime or calcium for eggs and snail shell formation.
- Moisture Content of the Soil: the soil must be preferably damp in nature’
- Wind Direction: Snail farm should be situated in sites that are well protected from strong winds.
- Temperature and Humidity: Snails are cold-blooded animals and are therefore sensitive to change in atmospheric humidity and temperatures. When the temperature is too high or too low, the snail withdraws to its shell. This is known as hibernation or aestivation.
- Caring habits:
- IN EXTENSIVE SYSTEM: Low predator control, low productivity and performance on the weed, very low humidity during dry season etc.
- SEMI INTENSIVE: The system is much like the extensive system only that the later does not need much care such as food and water.
- INTENSIVE SYSTEM: The intensive seem to support the type of husbandry practice that maximizes production and profit. It is important to know in choice of site, emphasis would be laid on: Quietness, Coldness, Temperature, Predator-free zone. Your choice of soil must be acid free loamy, rich in organic matters, natural water without any form acid like salt.
- PEN: Planks/Saw-dust; Hangers cement. Sand/Mosquito (plastic) mesh plastic water trays-loamy soil.
- Motor tire
- Watering can
- Kitchen weighing scale
- Water contains
- Measuring tapes
- Cutlass/ kitchen knifes
- Shovel and Hoe
- Hand trowel
Snails are omnivores (heavy eaters) and carnivores (eat one another).That feed on wide range of food mostly at night, dusk and when their environment is dark with food. Moulds and left over should be removed regularly to enhance better appetite and disease free environment.
TYPES OF FOOD FOR SNAILS;
Snails feed on a wide variety of food: Vegetables, Fruits, Animal water products, Agricultural materials and Supplements. Paw paw (it used to discourage devastation), Wheat brown – to bust growth, Cocoyam, hibiscus flower, cassava, akamu (chaff wet), blood meal. There food is based on 3 categories: Water, Calcium, Protein, Fat.
Snails requires cold and moist environment to survive and breed, its breeding period is mostly during wet reasons, they have the ability to store their sperm for as long as a year. Snails are hermaphroditic animal i.e they have both male and female organs, aside for that they do breed with before laying the eggs (same snail species) and their mating is usually from May – October.
BENEFITS OF SNAIL KEEPING
- Snail meat is better than red meat
- Snails are highly reproductive
- Low viral infection and mortality rate.
- Housing requirement.
- Low capital investment
- High local demand
- It is used to prepare dishes
- It is consumed by most person (southern)
- It generate revenue for a country or the keeper (if 1 snails is sold for N70 and we have one hundred thousand snails in your farm for a year (N70 x 10,000 = N7,000,000).
TAKING CARE OF SNAILS
- Watch them carefully to ensure that they are eating well.
- Give them the right kind or type of food at adequate quantity.
- Wet the food and shelter plants and moisten the ground properly.
- Do not give them cooked food.