Snail belong to the second largest group in the animal kingdom Phylum Molusca. Next to Athropoda among the invertebrates i.e animal without back bone. Octopus, Squid, slugs, snail etc. belongs to the same phylum.
Achating fulica ilakose, Achatina Maginata Achratina achatina
Achatina filica- ilakose (Yoruba) Onotooru (Fulani)
Achatina fulica Ilakose
Snail is a good source of valuable protein in Africa and Nigeria in pannicular. It is a piecious and expensive delicacy on the table of many household.
It is commonly eaten, fried, spiced with hot pepper and washed down with palm wine along Epe itoikin road.
There are many species of edible snails, they vary in size, colour and shape at maturity.
We shall consider only four common types in this study
1. Africa giant land Snail
2. Fresh water Snail (Yoruba – ishawuru) (Igbo – egbumirin)
3. Small size Snails (Yoruba – Okoto)
4. Pen winkle
These Snail types vary in size at maturity.
The African giant land snail is commonly found in some parts of West Africa especially in cocoa plantations, fallowed Land, and virgin forests.
The fresh water Snail or river Snail is common in the river, it has a very thick cover that seals it off into the shell to evade predators found in perennial rivers in southern Nigeria
Yoruba called it Isawuru
Igbo called it Egu mirin
Mini size Snail – this is the most common but the size at maturity is small this type of snail is found everywhere in the town during rainy season especially on construction sites, concrete blocks and walls, where there is bush or grass Yoruba call it Okoto igbo called it Inilla. It is not strange to see children pick one of two buckets bull of this snail after a heavy rainfall in some areas.
Periwinkle is also Snail it is only adapted to marine environment of the sea & lagoon it is an indispensable ingredient in the Calabar popular soup Edykaikon.
Nutritional Value: Snail is a good source of digestible protein containing up to 16% protein made up of almost all the essential amino acids. Low in fibre and cholesterol and very rich in ion and minerals up to 50mg per kilogram. For this reason it is recommended in the diet of anemia patients. Snail is also believe to process mechanical substances for the treatment of whooping cough and asthma because the liquids in snail is know n to cause agglutination of certain bacteria.
Economic Importance – there is huge demand for snails in North America and Europe especially France and Italy. The requirement in these countries are mainly met through importation.
In West Africa, snail is also consumed heavily but the availability is limited to the rainy season. This is because the source is only from the wild. For the availability of snail from the wild in drastically reduced now as the specie is so much endangered. This is due to human activities like bush burning the use of herbicides and pesticides for agriculture and oil spillage in the eastern part of Nigeria. For these reasons intensive production of snail is very necessary.
Farming Snail- snail production is a lucrative business but not a means of get rich quick. for the gestation to maturity of snail takes not less than two years.
However the Market value and prolificacy of snail bridge the gap and compensate for the long gestation.
Snail farm size is determined by the capital and the location of the farm. Snail can be reared in boxes made of suitable substances like wire net, wood, straw (Gamba grass) etc for the per time or backyard farmers who only want to supplement the family diet.
For big shot commercial farmer it is necessary to acquire a permanent land for snailery. The soil should be rich and contain a high level of organic matter. Compact soil is not good enough as snail need to dig in soil to lay eggs or rest sometimes. Porous soil is not also good for snail requires a little damp and humid environment.
Snail pens should be constructed with material which does not allows baby snails to escape into the wild. Wire net is ideal for this purpose.
If the snail pen is large enough it should be divided into paddocks of not more than 4x4meters to prevent overcrowding and to maintain a regular stocking density.
The direction and velocity at wind should be considered when sitting a maize farm. Wind should be considered when siting maize farm. Wind is an agent of dehydration is not good for snail. Snails are comfortable in moderately damp and humid environment for this reason it is common to plant tree crops like cocoa or plantain or banana around the snailery to reduce wind velocity and promote the humidity. Cocoyam, Sweet potato, waterleaf may be planted inside the pens to supplement the diet, serve as shade and cover up for the snail. This will also improve the humidity.
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