From the descriptions of thethree major GALS species it is clear that snails, as cold-blooded animals, aresensitive to changes in atmospheric humidity and temperature. GALS, especiallyAchatina fulica, are able to put up with a range of conditions, but whentemperature and/or humidity are not to their liking, they go into dormancy. Thesnail retracts its entire body inside its shell, sealing off the opening with awhite, calcareous layer to prevent water loss from the body. This reaction istypical of all snail species.
Aestivating snail sealed intoits shell by a calcareous layer. Snails aestivate if the temperature is toohigh, > c. 30 °C, or if air humidity is too low, < c. 70-75% relativehumidity. Snails hibernate if the temperature drops below c. 5 °C.
For the snail farmer theresult is the same: his (or her) snails become inactive and stop growing,losing valuable growing time, while expenses for housing, tending andprotection continue.
Consequently, it is in the snail farmer’s interest to prevent, or at least reduce, dormancy by selecting the most favorable site for the snail farm by providing good housing for the snails, by providing good feed and ensuring good snail farm management
Obviously, it is possible tofarm snails in a completely controlled environment, but this would requireconsiderable investment costs, and is therefore presumably outside the scope ofthe farmers for whom this Agrodok is intended.
Without artificial climatecontrol, successful commercial snail farming is more or less restricted toareas with the following characteristics:
- Temperature: a steady year-round temperature of 25-30 °C, and a low fluctuation between day-time and night-time temperatures.
- Day-length: a fairly constant 12/12-hour photo-period throughout the year.
- Air humidity: a year-round relative air humidity of 75-95%.
These conditions correspond tothe tropical rainforest climate zones and they work best when there is nopronounced dry season or strong fluctuations.
Culturaland Religious restrictions on Handling and Eating snails
Certain religions, notably theIslamic and Jewish faiths, specifically prohibit eating snails orsnail meat a fact to be considered when planning a snail farmingventure in regions where these religions are present or dominant.
Local customs or culturalpreferences may prevent people from eating or even handling snails –again a factor to take into account before embarking on snail farming.