The huge African snails are a popular delicacy food in many countries across the world. Growing to about 20-30 cm long, these giant species live in tropical forests. They can be found in Nigerian forests, however, the demand for them grows and supplies get lower with each year. Building a simple snail farm is an incredible business opportunity in Nigeria. Would you like to know how to rear snails at home?
Many people use snails are a part of their healthy eating plan. This type of food is low fat with high protein and low cholesterol levels. It offers the right amount of organic compounds the human body requires. Although red meat is more expensive than snails, the Achatina delicacy is often not affordable to many Nigerians.
Besides, these species are the seasonal type of food. Besides being a popular delicacy offered in Nigerian hotels, bars, and restaurants, giant snails are widely used in the medicine and cosmetic industry. In other words, snail rearing can be a high-revenue business. It does require knowledge and investments but the benefits and profits are totally worth it.
Achatina or the Giant African snails can be cultivated at home and on a small farm. This is a promising business niche that can make you rich. Snail rearing can be organized in big cages right in your backyard.
Right now most of the giant snails that are sold at the markets are gathered in the forests in the spring, summer, and early fall. These beings can be easily discovered and collected when it constantly rains. At other times, it is a difficult task. Snail rearing can change this model because families that cultivate snails at the farms and at home can supply this delicacy to cafes and hotel restaurants at any time of the year.
More of it, since the supply gets shorter during the dry season of the year, farmers can sell their snails at a high price and earn more profit. Making seasonal food available at any time of the year is a great business concept that can turn into stable earnings for the family.
The big African snails are also popular in European countries. Starting a business in Nigeria as a local market supply can grow into a big export project. This is why you should give it a thought and realize all the benefits the snail raring promises.
The main target in the snail farming business are consumers who are willing to pay for first-class supplies. The list includes:
- Hotel networks
- Foreign customers
How to rear snail at home
When you decide to rear snail at home you need to know some simple tips. Your species have to be big, even huge. They should grow to about 25-30 cm in length. Such size can usually be achieved in about 8-12 months, sometimes it can take even longer than this.
The bigger your snails are, the more money you will get for them. Restaurants and households are interested in premium quality and this means the size in terms of snails. Remember that they are called the GIANT African snails and here the word ‘giant’ is what you should focus on.
- Find the correct species to grow (look at the Giant African snails only).
- Learn everything about snail breeding and practice it.
- Feed the snails the right food to help them grow to their ‘huge’ size.
- Keep stocking.
- Find the right customers who are willing to pay more for the bigger snail size.
- Get your profit.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, no business is simple. Remember this axiom. You’ll have to work hard to reach your goals.
There are still many advantages you’ll love:
- You don’t need too much money at the start.
- You can start a small farm right in your yard.
- You can rent a landmark nearby if you don’t have a big courtyard.
- Growing snails is way cheaper than other popular livestock business projects. Snail’s droppings are ecology-friendly.
- Snail’s droppings are not aggressive to neighbors.
- Snails can lay up to one hundred eggs at a time.
- Snails easily mate at any time of the year, as each species is both female and male.
So here is how you can rear snails at home:
Step 1. Create a house for your snails.
Step 2. Buy correct Giant African snail species to start with.
Step 3. Take good care of your farm: feed snails, clean their houses and keep an eye on their health.
Step 4. Sell your product and earn money.
The slowly crawling creatures that are native to many African countries require a house. What should you use to make one for them? It could be a cage, plastic container, glass container, or aquarium that has a lid that fits tightly and a good ventilation system. It is better not to use anything made of wood or wire to make sure the house cannot harm the snails that live inside. Make sure the habitants will have no chance to climb out of their house.
The size of the snail’s house depends on the number of your species. It is completely ok to keep just one snail per house, however, if you have at least two snails in the same house they will bring baby snails and help your farm grow.
You should make the house comfortable for its inhabitants. Here is how you can manage this:
- Create the ‘floor’ using peat-free compost (add no more than 6 cm or 2 inches of this material).
- Gently moist the ‘flooring’ using the spray bottle of water but don’t make it too wet.
- Regularly (every day) spray the ‘floor’ with water because snails love humidity.
- Add a heating pad (it should take no more space than half of the container) under the aquarium to achieve the best ‘snail’ temperature of 21-23 degrees Celsius.
- Use a thermometer to make sure the temperature doesn’t get lower than 18 degrees Celsius and doesn’t crawl higher than 29 degrees Celsius.
- Change the compost every week.
- Clean the snail house at least one time per month.
What else would a snail’s house need? First, do not place it in direct sunlight. Snails don’t like light and hide if there are too many sun rays. It is better to choose a place with indirect light. Secondly, these creatures need to bathe in warm water occasionally so you should wipe them carefully with a piece of cloth every other month without using any soap. Thirdly, keep an eye on their mood. Unhappy snails stay hidden inside their shell and happy snails crawl and enjoy their life.
What do snails eat?
The species are unpretentious in food. They eat most vegetables and fruit. Feeding them is like a breeze. Still, you have to remember that some types of food cannot be fed to your snails.
Food snails eat
- Leaves of dandelions
Food snails do not eat
- Any salty food Anything containing acids (onions, oranges, etc.)
- Any type of processed starchy food
Feed your species once a day. Make sure to remove the leftover food every day because old products can begin to rot. New products should be washed with water before you give them to snails. This way you’ll remove the pesticides if any are present on the vegetables and fruit. Also, make sure your snails have fresh water to drink every day. You can use any shallow plate for this purpose.
Besides, all your snails have to get calcium. This helps their shell to grow as they grow up. Here are the main sources of calcium you can use to feed your species:
- milled eggshells
- cuttlefish bone
- powder calcium
- You can make calcium from eggshells yourself and you can buy cuttlefish bones at local pet shops.
P.S. When you start your own snail business you should focus on the seasonal feature of this market. Grow the snails using the best feeding and breeding practices and make sure you have enough supply during the dry season. This is when you can sell your product at better prices and earn more.