Snail Food / Feed
Many people have wondered how snails feed. Well, it is one of the wonders of God. Snails eat by rasping the feed with their radula. The radula is a delicate tooth-like projection, having the likeness of homodont dentition and it can only be seen when the snail is feeding, most especially at the night or when it rains. They prefer succulent feed due to the nature of their radula.
Snails feed on varieties of feeds. These include:
- Fruits of mango, banana, plantain, orange, bread fruit, carrot, cucumber, ripe pears, tomatoes, pumpkins etc.
- Leaves of cocoyam, banana, cassava, guava, sweet potato, pawpaw, onion greens, hibiscus, lettuce, spinach etc. They prefer juicy leaves to dry ones.
- Sweet potato and yam (cooked or raw), beans, corn (cooked or raw) etc.
- Agricultural by-products: Rice bran, wheat offal, palm kernel cake, soya beans residue, peels of plantain, banana, pawpaw, cocoyam etc.
- Dry ground cereals: Maize, groundnut cake, soya bean, wheat and sorghum.
- Mineral supplements: Ground oyster shell, bone meal, limestone, ground snail shell etc.
- Formulated ration: This is the feed that is formulated using available feed ingredients and it is expected to meet the nutritional requirements of snails. A sample snail feed formula is presented on the table below.
- Water: this should be provided in a shallow container to reduce the risk of the snail drowning. Chlorinated or dirty water should be avoided. Rain, borehole or well water is preferred. It must also be ensured that the snails have easy access to enough water especially when fed with dry mash.
Small Snail Feed Formula
|Groundnut Cake (GNC)||10|
|Palm Kernel Cake||4.3|
Factors Affecting Feeding in Snails
Feeding activity in snails can be enhanced by some factors, these include:
- Freshness of the feed
- Feed with low fiber content
- Succulence and fineness of the feed
- Availability and easy access to drinking water especially when fed with dry mash.
- Considerably high relative humidity, moderate temperature, fairly dark condition of the pen, food preference versus food supplied etc.
- Snails also feed well when the feed is moist.
It is however worthy of note that since the feeding activity to a considerably large extent depends on the weather, snails may not necessarily feed every day. This should not raise too much an alarm. Just ensure that you simulate the conditions obtainable in the wild right in the pen so that their habitat requirements (especially for feeding) will not be totally altered. Let the snails feel as if they are still in their natural states in the forest.
Take note of these facts when feeding the snails;
- Weight gain is directly proportional to the level of feed intake.
- Shell growth is directly proportional to the feed intake.
- The size of the snail is directly proportional to the digestibility of the feed served.
Thus, for the good and favorable performance of your snails, give quality attention to feeding them well.