- 1 Snail Farming In Nigeria – The Begining
- 2 Starting Snail Farming in Nigeria
- 3 Procurement of Snail Feeds
- 4 Price of Snails in Nigeria
- 5 Advantages of Snail Farming in Nigeria
- 6 Safety Precautions while Managing Snails
Snail Farming In Nigeria – The Begining
Snails constitute popular food items in Nigeria and it is believable that both poor and rich Nigerians consume them in large quantities. In Nigeria, there has always been a huge demand for snails. Thus, snail farming has become one of the most lucrative farming businesses in the country.
This article is a broad survey of snail farming in Nigeria and anyone who is thinking about tapping into snail farming will find it useful.
As you read this article further, you will find out how you can get started with snail farming and the day-to-day activities you should be occupied with in order to make snail farming a viable source of substantial wealth for yourself.
Starting Snail Farming in Nigeria
The Desire to Start Snail Farming
For every business that has been set up, the desire to set up that business was the first step made in its establishment. If you want to own a snail farm, you need to have developed the desire to delve into snail farming.
Meanwhile, it is unreasonable to start a business you don’t have a liking for. That being said, you can hardly survive in the business of snail farming if you don’t instil desire into it.
Before you engage in snail farming in Nigeria, be certain that you have developed the desire to do the business.
By so doing, you will have the cause to manage your snail farm effectively and even survive amidst business challenges.
Snail Farming Business Plan
Drawing up a business plan is the next step in snail farming after convincing yourself that snail farming is a lucrative farming business you should tap into.
Importantly, a business plan gives an insightful summary about the aspect of a business and what the business is likely to achieve in that direction. Therefore, a reasonable business plan is needed for any proposed snail farming business.
Without a realistic business plan, it may be very hard for a business to survive amidst unpleasant conditions. More so, if you don’t want your business to be run, managed or handled poorly, it is advisable to write a business plan for it.
Basically, the elements of a realistic business plan are capital, expenditure and estimated revenue.
In that case, you will need to decide on the amount to lay down for your snail farming business, the number of facilities to be purchased or procured and the profit you expect from the sale of snails.
In as much as these elements are essential for you to succeed in snail farming, there is the need to draw up a realistic business plan.
Also with the help of an adequate business plan, you can easily determine whether your business of snail farming is yielding profit or loss.
On a high profile, one more important element of a realistic business plan is the marketing strategy to be adopted. Meanwhile, choosing a quality marketing strategy contributes immensely to the profit you can generate from the sale of mature snails.
Amount of Capital
Capital is one of the essential things one must consider before setting up any business.
Meanwhile, snail farming is not excluded in this regard because it may be established as a large-scale or small-scale business.
Some people lay out hefty sums of money for their snail farming businesses simply because they intend to earn robust profits. But if you are only interested in setting up a small area of land for the purpose of rearing a considerable amount of snails, you may not need much capital to get started.
Before you venture into snail farming, be certain that the amount of capital at your disposal is enough to procure facilities needed to run the business.
Though snail farming can be run as a large business or a small business (probably with little capital layout), it is strongly advised that you gather sufficient capital that can help you meet your business objectives in the long run.
Choice of Land for Snail Farming
In Nigeria, snail farming is one of the farming businesses which require an adequate choice of land. While attempting to establish a snail farm, make sure the area of land you have chosen is plain in shape.
Also, don’t choose an area of land that is extremely acidic or dry. Advisably, you can go for a piece of land characterized by adequate shadiness so that your snails can be raised properly.
One more important thing to note while choosing your preferred land for snail farming is the soil type of the land.
Therefore, it is best recommended that you stay away from any land with waterlogged soil as this will not be conducive to adequate breeding of snails. In that case, you may opt for an area with adequate loam content but make sure the loam doesn’t have a high capacity to hold water.
Alternatively, you can go for an area characterized by a mixture of sandy and loamy soils.
In practice, loamy soil is deemed the most suitable soil for rearing snails simply because a quality loamy soil gives nutrients such as calcium needed by snails to grow shells. In addition to the moisture they derive from loamy soils, snails find it suitable to lay their eggs on them.
That being said, anyone should know that it is improper to rear snails on solid floors.
Building a Snail Pen
Many people may prefer to rear their snails on farms or other open places but this doesn’t mean it is unsafe to rear snails in an enclosure such as a tank or pen.
In fact, this is an advisable way of setting up a snail house that will prevent your snails from escaping your vicinity. Truly, snails are sluggish creatures but this doesn’t mean you can’t lose them if they start crawling away from their house.
Whether you are housing your snails with a low-fenced pen or the high-fenced one, it is advisable that you check the pen properly for leakages/openings through which snails can potentially escape.
For certain reasons, you may have plans to build a high-fenced house (in the form of a tank or pen) for your snails. But in this case, one important thing to consider is the height of the walls surrounding the pen or tank. Therefore, it is best to have mini-sized walls capped with wire gauze.
Around the bottom of the fence, there should be trenches which can hinder insects and other enemies of snails from penetrating the pen. Also, try to apply engine oil to discourage the pests from surrounding the fence. This is very essential whether you’re sticking with a low-fenced pen or the high-fenced one.
As implied earlier, it is improper to rear snails on solid or concrete floors. However, you may have to equip your snail pen with a concrete floor for certain reasons. In that case, ensure you spread sufficient amounts of loamy soil on the concrete floor of the pen. Doing this is essential as it gives your snails the ability to maintain adequate living conditions.
Choosing the Best Species of Snail
When a snail pen has been successfully built, the next thing to get started with snail farming is a stock of snails that will be reared in the pen.
In this regard, it is advisable to consider the most suitable species of snails and ensure that such snails are in good condition. Realistically, it is unreasonable to buy unhealthy snails –probably the ones with patched surfaces, broken shells or other kinds of damage.
Other qualities you should consider while choosing snail species is weight and freshness. Therefore, don’t buy lightweight snails or the ones with rough bodies and soft shells. Likewise, ensure the snails you have selected are mature for reproduction so that you can start breeding thousands of snails in time.
The three best and commonest species of snails are
(i) Archachatina Marginata
(ii) Achatina Achatina
(iii) Achatina Fulica.
Meanwhile, the common snail species in Nigeria are:
- Sulawesi Snail
- Zebra Nerite Snail
- Apple Snail
- Tracked Nerite Snail
- Pond Snail
- Horned Nerite Snail
Although there are a significant number of snail species, experts have chosen Achatina Achatina as the best option for rearing purposes. Alternatively known as “giant tiger land snail” or “giant Ghana snail’’, Achatina Achatina is a large snail species recognized for the ability to lay more than a thousand eggs per year.
In view of this quality, many people have chosen Achatina Achatina as the most suitable snail species for farming purposes. Also in Nigeria, the snail species is admired for its huge reproductive ability.
Procurement of Snail Feeds
Snails can be fed with any of a vast number of food staples and this is evidently one of the reasons why snail farming is an affordable business for both the poor and the rich in Nigeria.
Unlike certain other animals, snails are not absolutely selective in terms of foods but you must ensure that their feeds are devoid of salt. In a nutshell, don’t give your snails any food staples that contain salt.
“Snail formula’’ is another food highly recommended for snails to derive high calcium content. However, this doesn’t mean it is compulsory to get “snail formula’’ as snails feed on various foods including flowers, grains, tubers, fruits, leaves, concentrates, industrial offshoots and so on. Below are the food staples you can feed to your snails from the aforementioned foods.
- Flowers: milk bush, sunflower
- Leaves: lettuce, eggplant, pawpaw, cowpea, okra, cocoyam, and cabbage
- Concentrates: rich in vitamins, carbohydrate, calcium, fats, protein
- Industrial Offshoots: maize, spent grains, wheat maize, soya bean residue, maize chaff, rice
- Fruits: pineapple, avocado pear, guava, pawpaw, watermelon, cashew, banana, breadfruit, eggplant, coconut, tomato, mango, oil palm, sweet orange, plantain, cucumber
- Grains: cereal, guinea corn, ground maize
- Tubers: sweet potato, cooked cocoyam, white yam, cassava
Like other animals, snails require food to grow quickly and reproduce under normal conditions. Therefore, you’re expected to supply food to your snails every day.
Also while feeding your snails, ensure you don’t stick with a single food staple because snails tend to get bored when you don’t change their food type. That being said, ensure you empty your snail pen of any food your snails fail to eat within two days.
Adequate Management of Snails
Snails deserve to be tended in the most suitable manner and environment.
In reality, snails are creatures you can manage conveniently but the fact that they barely suffer diseases (or unhealthy conditions) doesn’t mean you should treat them carelessly or without proper management.
Ranging from the snail pen to the feeds you provide your snails, it is advisable that you take adequate measures which can enhance the proper growth of your snails.
Snails tend to die in the same manner other animals may die if not properly managed. For this reason, you have to tend your snails in the most appropriate manner and ensure they derive sufficient moisture, calcium and other nutrients needed for sustenance.
For management purposes, you can always feed your snails with any of the food staples discussed earlier but you have to be absolutely sure that such food staples do not contain salt.
Providing your snails with regular feeds is another essential thing you should bear in mind while managing snails. Likewise, endeavor to supplement their feeds with good water.
Under every circumstance, ensure your snails are fed with water that is absolutely free from pollutants such as fungicides, herbicides or insecticides. On this note, you should also prevent your snails from the intake of chlorinated water.
Maturity and Reproduction
Snails tend to reproduce massively and this is one of the reasons why snail farming is an interesting farming business you may like to do in Nigeria.
As the consequence of mating, snails (both females and males) reach the point of fertilization. Meanwhile, snails often lay their eggs in hollows under fragments or logs.
When snails reach sexual maturity, probably from the period of 8 months to 1 year, they begin to lay white eggs and it takes the period of 1 month to 1½ months for their eggs to hatch.
When a snail egg eventually hatches, the emerging young snail spends about 5 days in the soil. For the reason that such a young snail needs enough space for growth, it should be kept in a separate place (probably a pen) from where the adult snails live.
Under proper growing conditions, a snail should develop into an adult form within the average period of 18 months. Meanwhile, an adult snail with full maturity will potentially have a large hard shell.
Harvesting and Sale of Snails
After maturity which normally takes 18 to 24 months, the snails should be due for harvest. However, it is not advisable to harvest snails that haven’t matured.
To verify that your snails have matured, look very closely at the brims of their shells and ensure that they are much harder, tougher and thicker than every other portion of the shells.
Depending on your marketing plan, you may be thinking about selling as many as possible snails but it is strongly recommended that you preserve some of the mature snails to use them as base stock and in breeding new generations of snails.
Diseases and Pests Associated with Snails
Snails are strong creatures and observations show that they seldom get sick but while rearing snails, don’t assume they can’t be prone to certain diseases.
Also, pests that often prey on snails are turkeys, lizards, geese, chickens, ants, snakes, and termites. Therefore, you’re strongly advised to protect your snails against these pests.
Besides pests, overcrowding is another factor that may contribute to the mortality of snails.
Studies reveal that snails can be very sulky especially when overcrowded. To prevent snail loss which often results from cannibalism, try as much as possible not to rear your snails in congested conditions.
Also as a result of overcrowding, snails are likely to suffer certain bacterial and fungal diseases.
These diseases are contagious and the best way to prevent them is to avoid rearing snails in overcrowded conditions.
In reality, the diseases suffered by snails are not great in number and we have tried to highlight some of them in this article. If you are interested in finding out some of the common diseases that may affect snails, check out the diseases highlighted below.
- Thinness/fragility of shells
- Irregular body formation
- Problems associated with the growth of shells
- Problems associated with reproduction
- Presence of hollows in shells
- Lack of colouration in new shells
- Reduction in the sizes of tentacles
- Loss of operculum
- Roughness of shell surfaces (especially in new parts of shells)
- Reduction in operculum and shell
- Reduction in operculum
- Loss of tentacles
Interesting Facts about Snails
Snails are common creatures and there are amazing facts anyone could be interested in knowing about them. Below are some of the interesting facts about snails.
- Biologists group snails under Phylum Mollusca precisely because they lack backbones
- Snails are said to be sluggish creatures but the fastest of them is the “speckled garden snail’’ that is capable of crawling over 55 yards in an hour. However, many other terrestrial snail species will only cover 23 inches in an hour
- Research shows that over a thousand snail species exist on earth. This obviously clarifies that there is a broad variety of snails with some species living in habitats such as freshwater, seas and land
- The day specified for the consumption of snails is National Escargot Day which officially comes up on 24th of May
- Snails are not sensitive to hearing
- Snails can be preyed on by a vast group of natural predators including geese, turtles, ducks, chickens, toads, snakes and beetles
- Snails are hermaphroditic creatures and the fact that they possess both male and female reproductive organs means they can lay eggs and produce sperms simultaneously. But again, snails usually have to exchange sperms with one another for the fertilization of the eggs produced
- The tongue of a snail is known as radula and it situates about 14, 175 teeth
- Heliculture (alternatively heliciculture) is the official name for snail farming as it involves nurturing land snails for the purpose of human consumption
- Common snail species are regarded as herbivorous animals. Hence, they can be fed with plant leaves, lichens, fungi, algae and decomposed vegetation
- Regarded as the largest snail species you can potentially find, Achatina Achatina (popularly called the “giant African snail’’), is suitable for business purposes due to its massive egg production ranging from 200 to 400 eggs. Meanwhile, the species is capable of yielding this massive production in a single clutch for about 2 or 3 times on a yearly basis
- The slime produced by the bodies of snails is very useful for protective purposes. Interestingly, the thick slime of a snail ensures that the creature doesn’t sustain wounds even when it crosses the sharpened edge of a razor
- Snails have a considerable lifespan ranging from 5 to 10 years. Research claims some snails are believed to have lasted 15 years
- Slime is one of the by-products of snails and it is useful in manufacturing beauty products
- Regarded as the largest snail species found in freshwater habitats, Giant Apple Snail adds up to 600 g in weight and its shell measures 15 cm in length
- Regarded as the largest snail species found on land, giant African snail (alternatively called “giant tiger land snail’’) adds up to 12 inches in length
- On the average, it requires a period of 18 to 24 months for snails to mature fully
- Snails are classified as nocturnal creatures i.e. animals that tend to be most sensitive in the night
Price of Snails in Nigeria
There is no fixed price for the sale of snails in Nigeria. So, you may consider a number of factors in deciding the price you feel your snails should be sold in the market. Meanwhile, snails are of different species and one species tend to be costlier than another.
For example, a single African land giant [one of the common snail species] may be sold #500 or more depending on market conditions and the seller’s preference.
Advantages of Snail Farming in Nigeria
There are a number of reasons to convince anyone that snail farming is worth venturing into in Nigeria. Whether you are starting snail farming on a mini scale or large scale, there are a pretty number of advantages you are certain to enjoy. If you’re strongly inclined towards snail farming, here are some of the advantages you will be open to.
- Small Capital Layout
You may intend to start snail farming with huge capital but generally, snail farming does not require huge capital set-up. In fact, you can start snail farming within your neighbourhood by setting up a suitable piece of land. By reason of this, you do not have to purchase a costly plot of land before you can begin your own snail farming business in Nigeria.
- Low Level of Pollution
Pollution is one of the environmental problems created by livestock farming in Nigeria but if you are into snail farming, customers won’t experience any disgusting smell while trying to patronize your business. If you have been looking for a lucrative farming business with little to no instance of environmental pollution, snail farming is a pretty choice for you.
- Low Level of Competitiveness
Some farming businesses (such as poultry farming) are extremely competitive in Nigeria. But luckily, snail farming is not included in this category of farming businesses because only few people practise it in Nigeria. Verily, this means you are readily making quick profit when your snails become mature.
- High Consumption of Snails
At Nigerian restaurants and food vendors, snail dishes are commonly found in the set menu and this is a clear proof that there is high consumption of snails in Nigeria. Besides their importance as food items, snails are commonly used in industries where beauty and pharmaceutical products are manufactured.
- Snails Are Not Prone to Frequent Sickness
One of the drawbacks associated with farming businesses is the tendency for livestock to fall sick frequently. But luckily, snails rarely fall sick and observations show that they can live for years without any instance of disease. If you are into snail farming, you may have nothing to worry about losing your snails to livestock diseases. Though we highlighted the diseases that may affect snails, only little to nothing has been said about the certainty of snails suffering these diseases.
Safety Precautions while Managing Snails
- Ensure your snails are given clean Don’t give them contaminated food or food that contains dirt
- To prevent your snails from hibernation particularly in the dry season, you can construct an irrigation channel for your snail pen
- Ensure your preferred snail feeds have sufficient calcium content. This will enhance the growth of snails
- If you observe that the soil substrate is becoming filthy, don’t hesitate to replace it with a fresh one
- Cultivate the habit of cleansing your snail pen of uneaten food on a daily basis
- Take care of your snail pen in the best way. Also, make sure it is damp, fresh and conducive to snail habitation
- Bathing your snails frequently is very important. You can decide to do this in every two weeks