1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The process of farming or raising snails is know as Heliculture/snail culture.
Generally, snails are animals of the numerous terrestrial or fresh water gastropod mollluscs with spirally coiled shells especially those in the family of helicadae. It belongs to the kingdom Animalia. Snails farm may be out doors in closed systems such as plastic tunnel houses or a green house. Snail farming on a large scale basis” requires a considerable investment. In time, equipment and resources.
Roasted snail shells have been found in arch acological evacuations, an indication that snails have been eaten size.
Prehistoric times, In ancient Rome, snails were fattened up in cochlear’ gardens before they were eaten “pliny” described keeping snails in a cool, moist and shady environment supplying artificial dew if necessary, building of container for them, surrounded them by water to prevent escape, supplying vegetation as feed and fattening them on, corn meal as a best system of snail farming. In addition snails may breed and hatch inside a controlled environment and then. (after 6 to 8 weeks) may be placed in out side pens to mature.
The fore going definition show that the natural habitat of snails are two (2) therefore snails are classified into two. The water or sea snails, and the land snails that are our major concern.
The Yoruba people of the south western, Nigeria make rhetories of the edible land snails but fail to avail them selves of the advantages of having the animal found all over the place especially during the ranging spell of the year, talkless of multiplying them.
Snails are special delivery of the elites who frequent hotels to satisfl;y them selves. Those of them who are not patronize hotels, buy snails from either the scrabbles who looked for them, or the farmers who found them in bush or farm land in the process of cultivation.
1.2 MATING AND EGG LAYING
Snails are hermaphrodites. Although they have both male and female reproductive organs they must mate with another snails of the same species before they lay eggs. Some snails may act as males one season and as females the next other snails play both roles at once and fertilizer each other simultaneously.
Hatchability of eggs depends on soil temperature soil humidity, soil composition e.t.c. when the snails is large and mature enough, which may take several years mating occurs in the late spring or early summer after servers hours mating is summer, (In tropical climates mating may occur several time in a year).
In some climates, snails mate around October and May mate a second time 2 week later After mating, the snail can store sperm received for up to a year, but it usually lays eggs within a few weeks. Snails are some times uninterested in mating with another snails of the same species that originated from considerable distance away.
Snails need soil at least 2 inches deep in which to lay their eggs, keep out pests is not suitable for the preparation of a nest, nor is soil that is too heavy. In clay soil that becomes hard reproduction rates may decrease because the snails are unable to bury their eggs and the hatchlings have difficulty emerging from the nest Hatchability of eggs depends on soil temperature soil humidity soil composition e.t.c.
Snails lose substantial weight by laying eggs some do not recover. About one, third of the snails will die after the breeding season. Data varies widely on how long after mating snails lay eggs. The snail puts its head into the hole dug out in the ground or may crawl in until only the top of the shell is visible. Then it deposite eggs from the genital opening just behind the head it takes the snail 1 to 2 days to lay 30 to 50 eggs occasionally. The snails will lay about a dozen more a few week later.
The snails covers the hole with the moisture of the slime, which the snail excretes to help it crawl and to help preserve the moisture in its soft body.
Snails hatch about 3 to 4 week after the eggs are laid depending on temperature and humidity. The snails eat and grow until the weather turn cold. They then dig a deep hole, sometimes as deep as I foot and seal then selves inside their shell and hibernate for the winter. This is a response to both decreasing temperature and shorter hours of day light. When the ground warms up in spring, the snails emerges and goes or a bring of replacing lost moisture and eating matting and egg-laying begin when there are at least 8 hours of day light and continue until days begin to get shorter.