The attacks from predators on snails have caused many snail farms to shut down over the past years. There’s a reason this challenge tops the chart of the challenges encountered by many people in snail farming, and here’s why: It’s a fact that snails thrive in a cool environment, but sadly, many of their predators are also naturally drawn to a cool environment.
Think about this, there are more cases of snakes and soldier-ants attacks during the rainy season, right? Exactly! And apparently, a good snail farm should always feel like the rainy season all year round for your snails, especially if you want them to thrive well. With this, can you see it’s almost inevitable not to attract a couple of predators to your snail farm?
This is why you have to put up preventive measures against them (predators) getting to your snail farm and why you have to eradicate them as soon as you spot them on your farm.
This article lists some of the measures you can use, but before we dive right in, it’s important you know that snails are fragile creatures, they are slower than most other creatures, and this makes them easy prey for so many predators. Most farmers limit snail predators to just snakes, soldier ants (we sincerely hope this is the scientific name of those ants), and rats. Well, it breaks our hearts to let you know the list is almost endless.
Here are some other snail predators:
Frogs, toads, termites, millipedes, centipedes, birds, crickets, insects (crawling and flying), even houseflies (it’s not so much as the flies themselves, but the eggs they lay in the snail pen that develop to become larvae, these larvae are the bad guys, and they can ruin a whole farm if they are not taken out immediately) mites, lizards, crabs, etc.
Now that you can identify most of these predators, how then can you prevent them from your snail farm?
READ ALSO: Seven Challenges To Snail Farming And How to Overcome Them
Predators: Prevention Methods
Fencing your snail farm: You can either use a wire mesh or bricks to build a fence around your snail farm, this makes it difficult for any predator to just crawl inside your snail farm and have direct access to harm your snails.
Note: Ensure the fence is well dug to the ground and of a good height.
Covering your Snail Pens with Wire Mesh and Mosquito Net: There’s this article we have on a step-by-step guide to building a snail house (by the way, you should check it out) and for every type of snail house we mentioned in that article, we suggested that you cover your snail pen with the combination of a wire mesh and a mosquito net.
Here’s why, the holes from this combination are so tiny, making it nearly impossible for predators in form of ants and insects to get it your snail pen, it also prevents predators like birds, toads, frogs, etc. from just swooping in your pen and lifting your snails and their eggs.
Digging a Trench around your Snail Farm: A trench is a long, narrow hole dug to the ground. What you do is to dig a trench around your snail farm and add in it, a mixture of water and spent oil (used engine oil or kerosene) the mixture repels crawling insects.
Now, if your snail pen is not built to the ground…for example, let’s say you use a hutch box to house your snails, then you can build a stand for it. The stand should be enough to elevate the snail pen to a safe distance from crawling insects, but for “double prevention”, place the stand in a container of a mixture of spent oil and water to ward off insects.
You can also prevent predators from your snail farm when you,
Avoid Water-logging your soil: A water-logged soil is a breeding ground for “snail mites” – these are predators that sting snails and cause them to lose appetite and eventually, lead to their death.
To avoid adding too much water to the soil, use a manual sprinkler or a nozzle (shaped like a sprinkler) to apply water to the soil, this way you can easily control the amount of water applied.
Carry out Regular Inspection: this is as simple as it sounds, try to do a regular check on your snails, their pens, and your snail farm to see if any predators are lurking around, this helps you in quick time to spot and prevent any deadly attacks on your snails, especially from reptiles.
Also, remember to
Practice Good Hygiene on Your Snail Farm: Okay, when it comes to snail farming, the subject of hygiene is a broad one, but for the sake of this post, practice these to keep predators from your snail farm:
- There are times when you might have to cover the top of the soil in your snail pen with dried leaves (a process called mulching), in other to create a shed for your snails to hide under, but before you introduce these dried leaves to your snail pen, ensure you wash them in hot water, this practice will help remove insects and their eggs attached to the leaves
- Do the same for the fresh leaves and vegetables you cut to feed your snails – wash them in clean water
- Also, remove leftovers daily, from your snail pens. Leftovers are like magnets to many predators, particularly ants and rodents.
In general, keep your snail farm clean!
On a Final Note
As cheesy as this might come off, we all can agree that prevention still triumphs over cure anytime and any day, especially when it comes to fragile creatures like snails, this is why it’s always safe to locate your snail farm in an area that has a low infestation level of predators and not in one where you have to give more attention to hunting down snakes and rats of different sizes and species, rather than taking care of your snails.
Even in areas of a low infestation level of predators, it’s still sometimes almost inevitable not to experience one or two attacks on the snail farm, but once you adopt the preventive measures we highlighted in this article, we guarantee you will see a drastic reduction in the number of snails you lose to predator attacks
We wish you all the best!
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