There is no business venture or enterprise that doesn’t have its own hurdles, snail farming is no different. Although a lucrative venture if all is well planned and thought; there are challenges that must be dealt with in other to successfully farm snails.
Snail rearing can be quite challenging if the needed measures are not put in place to help cushion the effects of difficulties encountered on the snail farm.
This article highlights seven basic challenges in snail farming in Nigeria. Which include:
Challenges To Snail Farming 1- PREDATORS
the fear of predators seems to top the chart of problems encountered in snail farming. Snails are fragile creatures and the fact that they are equally slow makes them prone to predators. Majorly, people think snakes, soldier ants, and rats are the only snail predators but that is not true.
Land snails are preyed upon by a terrestrial species of snail-like the Green Snail. The green snail is capable of eating young hatchlings of Achatina achatina. Other predators include insects, millipedes, crabs, crickets, turtles, frogs, toads, birds etc.
Solution: protect your snails by killing these predators whenever they’re sighted and don’t rear animals like birds, cows etc. on the same farmland with the snails. Also, the snail house should be elevated (this makes access difficult for creeping predators); Trenches should be dug around your snail farm (which should also contain spent oil to ward off ants).
Predator control structures should be installed to ward off rodents and other creeping animals and more importantly, the snails should be checked at intervals because they cant call for help when in danger.
Challenges To Snail Farming 2- SOIL TYPE
As subtle and insignificant as this sounds the capability, healthiness and reproduction of your snails largely depend on the type of soil they live on. Soil contamination may initiate a spike in snail mortality on the farm and as such, it must be checked at all terms.
The texture of soil on your snail farm should be finely grounded and preferably loamy soil with a low water-holding capacity. The snail farmland shouldnt be acidic, rather rich in calcium which strengthens a snails shell. Thus, ensure you conduct a pH test on your soil, sterilize the soil to get rid of predators and much importantly, change your soil every three months (for intensive housing system).
Challenges To Snail Farming 3-SNAIL FEED
of course, snails need to eat to grow; all living organism has to. Feeding your snails the right feed is as important as the air they breathe. Giving snails the wrong feed will most likely affect their growth or increase the mortality rate among them. You need to understand that, breeding snails on a large scale requires a large feeding commitment and as such, you should prepare what your snails will eat ahead of your stocking period.
Always remember that; snails are not slow in growth (like we’ve thought) but the quality of the food you give them influence their growth rate.
Visit our article on The Best Type of Feeds to Give Your Snails.
Challenges To Snail Farming 4- LIGHT INTENSITY
Unlike plants that require Sunlight to manufacture their food, snails do not need a large intensity of light. In fact, snails prefer to hide away from light as such, you must ensure you constantly keep the light intensity of your farm to the barest minimum for your snails to experience a consistent growth pattern; Mating events and egg-laying activities.
Snails are more active in the night than during the day, therefore, the pen should always be cool at night with less availability of light.
Challenges To Snail Farming 5- MAN’S ACTIVITIES
There are some changes that man does to his environment that affects the well-being of the snails. As earlier stated, snails thrive in a humid tropical forest zone, activities like bush burning and deforestation can become a hindrance to snail farming.
Bush burning and deforestation makes the habitat difficult for the snails to live in because it exposes them to a harsh weather condition, and their eggs to direct sunlight. When this happens, it sends them to extinction as they wouldn’t be able to successfully breed and their matured ones may die.
In a nutshell, ensure you are on the lookout for poachers trespassing into your farm or any man-made activities (such as bush burning, chemical spray, cutting of trees etc) around your farm as it may affect your snail’s productivity.
To prevent this, the eco-system around the snail farm should be kept tropical and natural as possible. Though the snails are being reared, the pen should feel like a home enough for them i.e. the coziness of a tree root and also secured enough to ward-off un-invited human guests.
Challenges To Snail Farming 6-DISEASES AND PARASITES
this is a major problem of snail farming in Nigeria and cut across all types of farming; it can’t be totally eradicated but can be reduced to the minimum. Diseases and parasites cannot be seen with the ordinary eyes but its noticeable once it starts.
Some of the symptoms noticeable in an infected snail are fragile shell. Inactivity in the snail, excessive secretion of serum (oedema), reduced or no tentacles, inability to reproduce, impaired opercula, loss of colour in new shell etc. Some of these diseases and parasites are;
Fungal diseases caused by Fusarium spp and majorly affect the snail eggs causing them to die before they’re hatched.
Bacterial diseases caused by Pseudomonas spp causes intestinal dysfunctions in the snails and affects their normal growth process.
Deficiency disease happens due to poor feeding or lack of essential nutrients and minerals that is needed for proper growth and development. Deficiency disease leads to cannibalism in snails as older snails feed on the smaller ones to supplement nutrients that are lacking in them.
A snail farmer must, therefore, be vigilant and observant. Feed your snails with the right diet and essential nutrients in the right proportion. Feed your snails to build their immune system. Ensure to separate diseased snails from healthy ones and embrace best farm hygiene.
Challenges To Snail Farming 7-CLIMATIC FACTORS
The climate condition of the snail farm determines the survival and reproduction rate of the snails. Snails only survive in high humidity environment, constantly low temperature and a season that is not dry. This is not naturally possible because of the seasonal climate changes that occur in the weather condition. The good news is that if it is not naturally possible, it can be artificially done.
The recommended temperature for the snail farm is from 23 to 28 degree Celsius; any higher temperature will affect proper development, normal feeding, reproduction and daily activities of your snails. The humidity of air in the snail farm shouldnt be lesser than 70-90% and this is achieved during the rainy season. During the dry season, snails die from hot air; therefore, the pen housing the snails should be regularly sprinkled with water.
At NGsnails, we have devised proven methods to keep snails comfortable all year round despite the changes in climate conditions, our snails reproduce even in the dry season. We have proven feeds that help your snails stay healthy all year round. Certified professionals are available to answer your questions and guide you through a successful snail farming experience, book a consultation time with them today. Reach us through our social media platform or hotline, anytime, any day.
Lets farm more snails!