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One of the most consumed livestock meat by humans worldwide since prehistoric times is snail meat. Snail meat is really high in protein (12- 16%) and Iron (45-50 mg/kg), and it also contains almost all the ammo acids needed by humans. According to research the glandular substances in edible snail meat cause agglutination of certain bacteria, which could be of value in fighting different types of ailments. Snail farming is really a profitable business to venture into, but a lot of Nigerians neglect the business.

Furthermore, Snail meat has traditionally been a major ingredient in the diet of people living in the high forest belt (the forested area other than the savannah forest) in West Africa. In country like C├Âte d’Ivoire, for example, an estimated seven million kg are eaten annually. In country like Ghana, it is also clear that the demand has currently outstrips supply.
A study has also show that the high iron content in the meat is considered very important in treating anemia. In the past, this meat was recommended for combating asthma and ulcers.

Some of the advantages of snail farming

        1. On like any other livestock snails are human and environment-friendly when compared to poultry and pigs, their droppings do not really come with offensive smells.

       2. Without been told the resources required for snail farming is relatively low when compared to other livestock farming processes.

       3. Like I said earlier, the meat of Snail can really serve as a good source of iron, protein, calcium etc. Snail meat is low in fats and cholesterol when compared to other protein livestock sources like pigs and poultry.

Different types of Snail

Snail has various species. On this article we are just going to concentrate on the Giant African Land Snail (GAL), most specifically the species of Archachatina marginata, Achatina achatina and Achatina fulica.

         1. The Achatina achatina species: This particular species is commonly known as Giant Ghana African snail. This species is a widely distributed snail species most especially in West Africa (Particularly in Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Togo).  The Achatina achatina species can grow up to 30 cm in body length and 25cm in shell height. Also an average adult shell length is about 18cm, with an average diameter of 9cm. The Achatina achatina species prefers warm conditions of 25-30◦C and relative humidity of about 80-95% for growing conditions.

        2. The Achatina fulica species: This particular specie called Achatina fulica (garden snail, foolish snail) is a large snail that can reach about 20cm in length or occasionally more, also with a shell length of about 20cm and a maximum diameter of about 12cm. The Achatina fulica species originated from the coastal regions of East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya) and by the 19th century, The specie has extended to southern Somalia, Ethiopia and Northern  Mozambique. The Achatina fulica species can adapt to a wide range of environments trying to modify its life to suit local conditions. A mature species of this snail can weighs about 250 grams.

        3. The Archachatina marginata specie: This particular specie called Archachatina marginata is a large snail that grows to about 20cm in length and also weighs about 500 grams. The shell of this specie is much less pointed than the Achatina species. The Archachatina marginata specie can grow very well in a good drain place.

Some of the benefits of snail farming

        1. Snail can be reared for meat production. Snail meat can either be cooked or fried and it really contains a good amount of protein (about 12-16%) and Iron (about 45-50 mg/kg).

       2. Snail can also be reared for medicinal purpose. A study has shown that the liquid can be used to cleanse the eyes of a victim of snake spittle.

       3. Snail farming has become a source of employment. A lot of unemployed youth, men and women in the society have benefited from snail farming business in the society.

Furthermore, the following are the step by step on how to start snail farming;

        1. The location of the site: In snail farming the location of the site plays an important role. A lot of species of snails really thrives best in areas with a moderate temperature and high humidity. If there is too much wind it can accelerate moisture loss in snails, if you want to prevent moisture the land must be sited in a place that is protected from the wind. And again the soil area is also very important, snails really grow well on good soils.

         2. The construction of snail house: In snail farming the housing method are either; extensive, semi-intensive and intensive depending on whatever you decide. Make sure it has escape proof so that you don’t wake up one morning and find your snail in your neighbor’s house or garden moving around.

        3. The rearing density: One thing that affects the growth of the snail is the stocking density. If there is high stocking density, it will really slow down the growth of the snails and it will make them to develop into small adults.

        4. Feeding the snail: Snails are really vegetarians, they will accept almost all types of food. Some of their foods are Leaves (pawpaw, Cocoyam, eggplant, cassava, okra, cabbage) Fruits (Generally fruits that are rich in minerals and vitamins but low in protein)
Tubers (which are yam, cocoyam, etc)
Don’t forget that snail are not fast growing animals, most times it takes about fifteen months for Achatina achatina to really reach full maturity even if they eat a huge quantity of food with quality every day.

       5.  Predators and parasite: Some of the predators that can really eat snail are; snakes, rats, mice, frogs and toads, domesticated birds, man, etc. Try and beware of parasites because they can eat the snails’ body tissue until the snails are reduced to putrefying mass and pupate within the shell, which can make your investments to be a waste.

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