Causes Of Slow Snail Growth

So you’ve started your snail farming adventure, and you’re eager to see those little guys grow big and strong. But what if their growth seems, well, a little sluggish?

Many new snail farmers ask questions like, “How long will it take for my snails to grow from babies to adults?” “Are snails slow growers?” “Why are my snails growing so slowly?” While snails are often thought of as slow-movers, their growth can be steady and seemingly fast when certain factors are optimized. 

Here are four major influences on snail growth rate:

1. Genetic Make-up of a Snail Specie:

The genetic background of snail species plays a crucial role in determining their growth rate. In higher animals, the genetic make-up of the parents is passed down to their offspring through heredity.

So, when two short parents marry themselves, there is a high tendency that they will give birth to a short baby. This simple analogy can be used to describe snails too! The Giant African Land snails are majorly grouped into 3 species (Achatina achatina, Achatina fulica, and Archachatina marginata). So, each specie is further classified under sub-species; if your starting stock has a naturally slower growth rate with a “stunted growth” trait in their genes, they will never grow big. No matter how well you feed them, it’ll take them longer to reach full size.

Not to worry, you can always reach out to NGsnails to obtain some high-quality, fast-growing, prolific breeder snails to kick-start your snail farming adventure.

2. Feeding Patterns and Nutrition: 

The quality of food administered to snails fully influences their growth rates. Snails fed with good crude protein balanced with calcium tend to grow their snail meat very fast, while snails fed solely on kitchen waste, fruits, or vegetables may take a while to grow because they may be deficient in some vital nutrients to accelerate their movement.

Don’t worry; our special “Snail Jollof” has already taken care of these shortcomings. So you can place your orders for some SHELLOF feed from us to help your snails grow better.

3. Housing System, Keeping Things Clean and Healthy: 

Snails love to explore, and as such, they grow faster in relation to the space they have around them. Snails kept in intensive units should not be overcrowded, as constant cuddling with one another can affect their growth rate. As much as possible, if you can, always keep snails in extensive free-range housing. As they move around the space, you will be amazed at how well their growth rate is transformed.

4. Management practices: 

We can call this some level of “good management practices” you give to your snails. Just like us, snails appreciate a clean and healthy environment. Good management practices significantly impact their growth rate and overall well-being.

Here are some key aspects:

  • Cleanliness is key: Regularly clean your snail enclosure, removing uneaten food and waste materials. Wash their feeding and drinking troughs to prevent the buildup of bacteria.
  • Mulch Matters: Apply a layer of mulch to the soil. This helps retain moisture, regulate temperature, and provide a natural habitat for beneficial microorganisms.
  • Minimize stress: Snails dislike disturbances. Avoid excessive handling and maintain a calm environment in their enclosure.
  • Smart Supplementation: While your snail food mix should provide the most nutrients, consider occasional calcium supplements following recommended guidelines to avoid over-calcification.

A note on our Soil Treatment Mix:

While we recommend a clean environment, some level of natural microbial activity is beneficial for your snails. There are commercially available, snail-safe soil amendments that can help promote a healthy microbiome in your snail enclosure. You can request for a bag of CHASOFF mix from NGsnails to naturally get rid of harmful pests on your farm while reducing the amount of contamination in your snail pens.

Bonus Tips for Speedy Snails include:

1. Don’t Rush the Hatchlings’ First Meal (Early Isolation of Baby Snails):

When baby snails emerge from their eggs, they instinctively eat their eggshells for the first 4-5 days before venturing deeper into the soil. These eggshells are packed with essential nutrients, particularly calcium, that give the hatchlings a growth boost and help them build immunity to microorganisms. Studies show that snails allowed to consume their eggshells tend to grow faster and experience lower mortality rates throughout their lifespan.On the other hand, snail hatchlings that are isolated earlier before 5 days from their incubating medium experience stunted growth when compared with snails that patiently ate up their encompassing egg shells.

2. Calcium Balance: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Calcium is a crucial building block for a snail’s shell. However, too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Excessive calcium intake can lead to a condition called shell over-calcification. This makes the shell extremely hard with a thickened lip. While a strong shell is important, over-calcification hinders growth. A snail’s body can’t expand its overly hardened shell which halt its growth once this hardening occurs. When stocking your snail farm, avoid snails with excessively thick or hardened lips, as these will likely have stunted growth despite their ability to reproduce.

3. Handle with Care: Less is More

This sounds funny, right? As a new farmer, it’s natural to be excited about your new snail friends! However, resist the urge to handle them too much. Their shells, especially at the opening (known as the aperture), are delicate. Even gentle handling can cause cracks that hinder growth. Let your snails explore their environment freely. You’ll be amazed at how minimizing contact can improve their growth and well-being.

Ready to get your snail farm booming?

We recommend starting with high-quality, fast-growing snails like the Giant African Land Snail. Nectar Green Snails can help you find the perfect stock and provide a specially formulated snail food mix to optimize your snail’s growth. Visit our website or contact us today to learn more!

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