Snail Farming Guide For A Beginner
Snail farming also known as Heliciculture is a process whereby snails are raised in land environments primarily for consumption or cosmetic usage.
Their meat can be consumed as escargot and the eggs as a type of caviar; the mucus is used for medical properties and cosmetics.
Not all snails are edible, so be well informed about the species good for consumption; otherwise, you may fall victim of getting sick if the non-edible snails are consumed.
These slimy creatures can be a menace to vegetation especially in the garden since they feed on leafy green vegetables and fruits; they are also considered to be great fish tank cleaners while maintaining freshwater in the aquarium.
Caution is important when you place snails in the aquarium because if they start to produce, they may cause mortality in the fish at the same time to themselves because the chemical that comes out of their body can be deadly.
Even in humans, freshwater snails may be detrimental to their health when the snail’s larvae enter their skin through bathing in the water or washing clothes; there will be bilharzia manifestation in the body.
The Few Important Things To Know And Master About Heliciculture
To farm snails is not hard; however, it is quite different from raising domesticated animals and vegetables.
One way to learn about snails so that you will be able to farm them is to watch the wild snails that live near you or you may seek advice from an old snail farmer.
Snails are slimy creatures that are found anywhere on land and they thrive well on moist soil.
Know the kinds of plants that snails need for food and shelter.
The smaller snails are found in places where it is partly warm and partly cold in the year; the larger snails are found in places that are warm all year round.
Baby snails can easily die during the first few days of life especially in extensive system of farming.
Edible snails are mostly found in Africa, Europe and North America.
Snails can be easily killed by salt, coffee, vinegar, etc.
They are environment friendly and they can be reared in backyards.
Snail meat is a good source of protein, calcium and iron; with low fat and cholesterol content.
The inputs in snail farming are relatively simple.
Snails are slow growing animals and the fact that the meat consumed lessens in weight, so do not consider this as a quick money making business.
There is restriction in farming because of unpredictable weather conditions which can disrupt the snail’s growth.
Cultural restrictions – in some countries snail consumption is an abomination due to cultural and religious beliefs.
Snails are pests and may develop serious damage in horticulture and agriculture.
Inadequate snail management and lack of cleanliness can stress the animals and this can have a negative impact in the animal’s immune system. For slow mortality rate in snails, ensure that snails are observed and at a lower population density; the containers should be cleaned frequently.
Health Issues On Snails
Snails can be threatened by infectious and parasitic pathologies and predation; these may result in high mortality of the animals depending on the well-being of the snails. The infectious diseases affecting snails may quickly appear and decimate the farmed snail population down by 70 – 80 percent. Diseases can also be caused by sudden change of environment and poor maintenance in farms
Snail is hermaphrodite fertile eggs are only produced by cross fertilisation when two snails mate. After mating, both may be capable of laying fertile eggs.
During the mating season which begins in spring the snails seek each other, smell and nibble each other and then join themselves for a very long coition of several hours, side by side over the horizontal plane.
If the snails are placed in conditions for reproduction that have optimum temperature, lighting and humidity the average time between mating and egg lying is 5-10 days. The snail is able and does mate and lay more eggs during the season as long as favourable conditions and nourishment are provided.
Harvesting farmed Snails
Egg Removal And Caring For Baby Snail
To facilitate the removal of the newly hatched snails from the plastic sheets that covered the laying containers a soft brush can be used to transfer the snails into suitable containers.
Also a plastic scraper can be used to remove the snails. The baby snails are extremely fragile also and can easily be damaged and destroyed during this operation.
Careful and unhurried removal from the plastic covers is recommended to reduce the mortality rate during transfer. It is advisable to transfer the baby snails to the nursery area as quickly as possible after collection to reduce stress and avoid the chance of suffocation.
Benefits And Uses Of Snails
• Snails have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant chemicals in their body which can diminish cancer properties on consumption.
• The mucus is used in medicine because it has the properties of reducing scars and marks; also used in making cosmetics.
The meat is consumed as an escargot and eggs used as caviar.
• Shell used for ornaments and decoration.