Snail farming business also known as Heliciculture or Heliculture or snail rearing is the process of raising edible land snails, primarily for human consumption or cosmetic use. The meat and snail eggs can be consumed as escargot and as a type of caviar respectively.
There are some basic factors that needs to be considered when selecting a desirable site for your snail farm in order to avoid related issues in the nearest future.
Snails also produce Mucus which is commonly known as snail slime and the mucus has medical properties and is used in cosmetics. Snails are Hermaphrodites meaning that a particular snail can act as a male as well as also act as a female.
Snail farming or snail rearing can either be reared as subsistence snail farming level or for commercial snail farming business level where you raise snails in large quantity and sell them to others for consumption or other purposes.
Meanwhile, Snail farming for beginners is very easy as snail farming does not require much knowledge to understand. As a beginner in snail farming business, all you need to do is carry an expert along on undergo a training in an already well established snail farm to acquire more practical knowledge about snail farming to guide and assist you establish and run a successful snail farm.
Snails are also cold-blooded animal and therefore their feeding activities are bound to be influenced by their environment, time and season. In preparing food for snails (snail food or snail feeding), the temperature inside the pen is hugely important, ensure that the snails are comfortable.
Some of those important basic factors to be considered when choosing a snail farm site include but not limited to the following:
1. General Considerations
Snails are generally very used to escaping from enclosures. A priority in setting up a productive snail farming venture, therefore, is to construct escape-proof housing. There are several types of snail housing to choose from depending on the size of the venture and the first step however is to select an appropriate site.
The main factors to consider in site selection are the following:
- Wind speed and direction
- Soil characteristics
- Safety: which include Protecting the snails from diseases, Predators and Poachers
Optimal site selection helps to prevent or at least reduce dormancy among snails while some of the factors that influence snail survival and growth include the following:
2. Temperature and Humidity
Snails are cold-blooded, they thrive best in areas with moderate temperatures and high humidity. In West Africa, temperatures in the areas where most edible species are found do not fluctuate greatly.
However, there are significant fluctuations in air humidity which have a pronounced effect on the GALS species dealt with in this publication as in their natural surroundings, snails go into dormancy during the dry season.
Relative air humidity should not be near saturation, because it would encourage the development of harmful bacteria and fungi.
In outdoor situations, it is clearly impossible to control climatic factors. However, the magnitude of temperature and humidity fluctuations is reduced in areas of relatively undisturbed forest or fairly dense vegetation cover. Such sites should be preferred to open grassland or farmland areas.
Obviously, snails can be reared in a completely controlled, indoor environment, but at a price. Whether the investment will be profitable depends on one’s financial resources, local production costs per kg snail meat, and marketing options.
3. Wind Speed and Direction
Wind accelerates moisture loss in snails. Therefore to prevent snails from drying out, snail houses should be situated in sites that are protected from the wind. Downhill sites are usually the most suitable, preferably those with good tree cover to reduce wind impact. Planting (fruit) trees around snail pens will help to reduce wind speed and improve the micro-climate. It will also protect the snails from scorching sun or torrential rain.
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