ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Raising Snails for Food or Pets

Updated on June 11, 2010

In some European countries, snails (in the form of escargot) are considered a delicacy, and there is a small market for them in the United States and other countries as well.

Edible snails can be sold live, steamed, canned, and more. Some escargot producers also sell specialty butters and other products to enjoy with their snails.

Snails can also be raised as bait or food for certain exotic pets such as puffer fish. Some species, especially aquatic snails, are kept as pets themselves.

Photo by ellhoisa
Photo by ellhoisa

Common Snail Species

Helix pomatia, which is known variously as the apple snail, Roman snail, Burgundy snail, or simply escargot, is a large European terrestrial snail that is one of the most popular edible snails.

Helix aspersa, also known as the brown garden snail or petit gris, is native to Europe and is another common type of edible snail. However, it is also considered to be an agricultural pest, and is estimated to be responsible for $7-10 million worth of damages every year in California alone.

Viviparis malleatus, also known as Japanese trapdoor snails, are edible by humans, but are most popular as pets for aquariums and ponds due to their excellent algae control capabilities.

Planorbidae species, also known as ramshorn snails, are a group of popular freshwater aquarium snails.

Pomacea bridgesii, or golden apple snail, is a lovely bottom feeding snail commonly kept as an aquarium pet.

Edible Snail Farming

The technical term for edible snail farming is “heliciculture.”

Snails are commonly raised in outdoor pens, generally long, narrow rectangles to allow the farmer to easily reach inside without having to step in. The pens must have sheltered hiding places for daytime, and good soil to burrow in. I many regions, a sprinkler system is useful to help control moisture levels. Terrestrial snails require a damp, but not wet, environment.

Outdoor snail farming is best in regions with relatively mild climates and high humidity. In unsuitable climates, snails can be raised indoors or in special greenhouses.

Raising Aquatic Snails

Many aquatic snails will breed readily on their own. One exception is golden apple snails, which are not hermaphrodites and require both male and female individuals to breed.

Legal Issues

It is illegal to import certain species of snails into the United States, and production of some other non-native species may be carefully monitored, since many edible snails are considered agricultural pests. In particular, the edible Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) is illegal to import or own in the United States.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      WWW.SnailsInTheMail.US 

      4 years ago

      We offer Helix aspersa / Helix pomatia for all of the United States

      www.SnailsInTheMail.US

    • profile image

      joe 

      6 years ago

      I'm going out tomorrow to get me a taste of the Japanese aquarium snail as it has been released in a local, clean spring feed lake in Michigan.

    • profile image

      Allyssa 

      7 years ago

      I'd love it if the pet section could be expanded! I actually have seven snails that I'm caring for now, and a lot of the tips I find are for snails along the Achatininae line. Mine are all helix aspersa. Otherwise, nice hub. :]

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 

      8 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Good hub, good topic. I guess since they were an agricultural pest, at some point somebody thought, "Hey, if I can't eat my garden plants, I'll eat the snails!"

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      I have learned something else here and thank you for writing such an interesting hub.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      8 years ago from Northern, California

      Found the hub really interesting. The best Escargot I have ever had was in Lake Tahoe about 4 years ago. Garlic and butter sauce, fresh made bread and a nice wine. What a great meal.

      Was not aware about the threat that some species cause to local agricultural health.

      Thank you for bringing an unusual topic to hub pages!

      ~always choose love~

    • reddog1027 profile image

      reddog1027 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hmmm, this hub was food for thought but I think I will pass on raising my own snails unless it is in my aquarium.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Interesting Hub. I love escargot but really have no intention of keeping them myself! This is best left to the experts, I think!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • torimari profile image

      torimari 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I'm not much of a fan of Escargot, but this was an interesting read about the basics of farming them. I'd expand the pet area more since your title and intro talks about owning them as pets. Also, the image looks broken for me so you know. Nice hub!:)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)