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Snail Farming: Things to know Before Starting Your Snail Farm Business

Updated on August 29, 2014

Small snail farming

 snail shells arianta arbustorum schalenweichtiere
snail shells arianta arbustorum schalenweichtiere | Source

Some edible Snails

List of edible snails and there characteristics

1 Otala lacteal small found in Europe measures 24 to 37mm whitish shell with prominent brownish concentric bands

2 Cepaea nemoralis can be found in Europe and has both herbivorous and carnivorous appetite with a maximum size of 27mm

3 Helix aspersa measures between 32 to 47mm are grey in color found in Europe and United States of America, New Zealand and southern Africa. The snail has a longevity that ranges between 3 to 5 years in captivity.

4 Cepaea hortensis can also be found in European countries, and it can grow about 22mm

5 Eobania vermiculate

6 Helix lucorun

7 Helix aperta

8 Achatina fulica native to Africa and measures an astounding 328mm in length

Snail Farming

The farming of Land snails is called Heliciculture and it’s a very lucrative business venture for the practitioners, the snails are methodically reared as a source of meat or other commercial applications. There are certain types of snails favored for commercial farming because of their size and the quantity of meat they produce.

There are many species of snails that are good for faming and are easily found in Europe, America both north and south, Asia and Africa. Each area has specific species that thrive in certain environments from harsh, to warm and cold areas depending on the species.

Definitely not all snails are consumed by humans some can be down right toxic while many produce substances used by cosmetic manufacturers. Luckily most large land snails are edible and are highly sort after delicacy that attracts high premium price in the market place.

The snail species regularly farmed in Europe are the Helix Aspersa and the Helix Pomatia while the giant snail species are farmed in Africa. The giant African snail is grouped under Achatinidae family which includes Achatina genus Achatina achatina, the Archachatina andArchachatina marginata.

The Achatina is the giant African snail happens to be the largest land snail in the world and its biological name is the Achatina Fulica aka tiger stripes.Snail farming

Snail Anatomy

Snail diagram
Snail diagram | Source

Land Snail anatomy

Snails are borrowers and live beneath the soil or in shaded areas they have spiral shell which double as protection and shade. The shell is 98% calcium based has soft oblong bodies and the pedal gland produce and adhesive substance that allow it to crawl.

Land snails also have a muscular foot; one or two pairs of tentacles and have lungs to breadth atmospheric air. They have hard shells and lay many eggs during mating season sometime numbering one hundred depending on the species.

It has a mouth and a radula tongue with small corneous teeth for grabbing food, salivary glands for digestion. Snails are hermaphrodites and have both organs and are able to procreate with each other.

Helixpomatia

Helixpomatia, edible snail
Helixpomatia, edible snail | Source

Edible land snails

It is important to identify edible land snails from the tiny 2mm snails to the commercially viable large snails. The two main types that farmers like are the Helix and the Achatina genus but other smaller snail types are also farmed.

The helix has the Helix aspersa; Helix lucorun, Helix aperta and the Helix pomatia while the Achatina fulica with four species. Other snail types farmed for meat and other commercial purposes are the Otala lacteal, iberus alonensis, Cepaea nemoralis, the Cepaea hortensis, Otala punctata, Eobania vermiculata, Theba pisana and many more.

A nice vegetable garden

A nice vegetable garden, snails love such places
A nice vegetable garden, snails love such places | Source

What do snails eat

Snails eat fruits

fruits
fruits | Source

What do Snail’s eat?

The Snail despite its apparent sluggishness are highly veracious feeder; they are usually conditioned by their immediate environment and choice of delicacies. Snail feed on fruits, vegetables like cabbage small microscopic algae and moist leafs like banana or plantain leafs.

Snails love moist leafs like lettuce and most vegetables we eat; they can also chow down on carrots, mangoes and apples. Snails prefer eating living plants and you can also find them eating certain mushrooms and falling leafs.

Other important food sources for your land snail can include algae, decaying leafs, different flowers, and the bark of trees. Snails also actively seek calcium because it is an important ingredient that helps build its shell. Snails eat many types of fresh leafs but are not strictly herbivores but more like omnivores because they are opportunistic feeders.

Snails also drink water so farmers should provide a source of water that is easily reachable.

General Habitat of snails

Snails are nocturnal and can be found in different habitats from woodlands to open fields, flower beds and gardens to moist sand dunes and under vegetation. Many are found in Europe, India, Africa and the Middle East.

African giant snail

Click thumbnail to view full-size
FulicaAfrican giant snailAfrican giant snail
Fulica
Fulica | Source
African giant snail
African giant snail | Source
African giant snail
African giant snail | Source

The Achatina fulica

Description

Achatina fulica measures around twenty one centimeters (21cm) in length and seven point five centimeters (7.5cm) in height and the coiling on the shell is either clockwise or anticlockwise. The snail is usually brownish in color and the severity of the brownish hue largely depends on what the snail eats and its environment.

The diet includes leafs, fruits, algae, worms and vegetables.

Achatina fulica Snail’s habitat

Achatina fulica is an invasive species that live in mild and warm climates with species like the Achatina fulica hamilie, achatina fulica rodatz, Achatina sinistrosa and Achatina fulica umbilicata. The snail grows easily in warm regions of Africa and can be found in Ghana, Nigeria Togo and may West African countries.

They love food and shelter plants like plantains and bananas and can be found living in the soil around such plants or under the large flat leafs.

Snail farming

Snail in a persons hand
Snail in a persons hand | Source

Snail farming in Australia

Farming snail

Snail farming is about gathering the right resources like measuring scale, humidity and temperature controls, the type of pen needed and the quality of the soil. Other considerations are the sourcing of food and provision of calcium which constitutes 97% of the snails shell.

Climate control is important especially devices to keep soil moist like sprinklers, protective pens that are pest proof. Snails can be eaten or killed by lizards, birds and rodents. They are surprisingly mobile so keeping them safe and secure should be your umber one priority.

The equipment needed to farm snails include outdoor pens or indoor plastic tunnels for breeding. Climate control equipment like sprinklers and humidifiers to keep temperature range between 16 to 24c is important.

Drainage system and adequate moisture is important with soil that its components are partly sandy and clay. The organic composition is also important and should contain elements like limestone, calcium, polyacrylamide, and magnesium.

A pen can be made out of galvanized sheets, wire gauze, galvanized metal wood or block material, there should be easy access and it should be fenced or covered to prevent predators like rats. Plastic pipe network can also be introduced into the pen, sprinkler system and equipment to measure humidity levels is important.

You are free to explore different types of enclosure that can provide shade, good soil proper temperature and prevent the snail from escaping.

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Preparing British garden Snail

Snails as food

Snails can be added to stew, boiled with vinegar, fried, grilled, stewed or cooked in spicy sauces they are a delicious source of protein with less health hazards like those found in red meat. Snails should be thoroughly cleaned and cook to prevent infection especially if harvested from the wild.

Snail meat can be found canned, boiled and salted, fried in oil and served as snacks, or cooked and spice.

Starting and Escargot business

Escargot business is lucrative and attracts a high premium price for the snails that are hand reared in snail farms. The business encompasses either the rearing, wholesale or retail of snail to customers and end users.

Escargot businessmen have to be acquainted with the rules and regulations of the country they operate, you can concentrate on the top species of snails in your locality. Then build your pen in moist/humid area, good soil and stock with high quality snail.

Introduce earth worms to help loosen the soil and give your snail fresh vegetables and fruits. Remember calcium is important and proper egg distribution necessary. Source local and international buyers like supermarkets, restaurants, meat shops and the open market.

Something on snails

Snail types
Snails eat
Snails can be cooked by
fresh water snail
Fruits
Grilling
Terestrial snail
Vegetables
Frying
Ocean snail
Decaying matter
Boiling

Government regulation

Each Government has many rules and regulation guiding snail production and sales which might include permits and restrictions, business planning, state regulations, guide to small farming, slug control and sales. Regulations cover imports, rearing and adequate facility, other involve environmental issues and species control.

Some Permits cover transporting the snails, type of species allowed into the country, import and export licensing and producing and canning process. Before venturing into snail farming find out all the regulations and laws guiding the country you reside.

Conclusion

Snail farming can make you lots of money because the creature can rapidly multiply under favorable conditions. They attract high prices but needs time and patience. Before venturing into the business try to visit a snail farm and read up many instructional materials to get a broader idea.

Snails are living things and are also prone to sickness and disease so start small and learn the trade while going about your regular job or other things.

© 2014 femi

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    • WriterJanis profile image

      Janis 2 years ago from California

      I didn't even know there was snail farming. I learned something new here. That one snail is huge!

    • tony55 profile image
      Author

      femi 2 years ago from Nigeria

      Thanks for your comment Writerjanis, snail farming is serious business in Africa and parts of Asia.

    • profile image

      Thebirdlover 21 months ago

      coolio! but GALS (giant african land snails) illegal in U.S. cuz they took over florida :(

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