Origin of Land Snails
Table of Contents
- 1 Origin of Land Snails
- 2 Classification of land snails
- 3 Gastropod sub-classes
- 4 Land Snails
- 5 Nature of Land snails
- 6 Characters and behavior of Land snails
- 7 Life cycle of land snail
- 8 Land Snails lifespan
- 9 Body Structure of Land snails
- 10 Land Snails’ Habitat
- 11 Reproduction in Land Snails
- 12 How do snails mate?
- 13 Snail egg
- 14 Egg hatching in Land snails
- 15 Movement in Land Snail
- 16 Growth in Land snail
- 17 Maturity in Land Snail
- 18 Land Snail Size
Land Snails are small soft animals, usually with a hard round shell on their back which move very slowly.
They include Archachatina marginata, Achatina achatina, Achatina fulica.
To understand the land snails, we need to first, understand the nature of this slow animal (snail).
How they respond to their environment, their environmental need and their general characteristics.
Classification of land snails
Land Snails are gastropods (Gastropods according to ScienceDirect are a highly diverse class of mollusks that include limpets, whelks, periwinkles, abalones, venomous cone shells, and the shell-less nudibranchs, sea slugs and sea hares).
Land snails are in the Gastropoda class, which has three subclasses; the Pulmonata, Opisthobranchia and the Prosobranchia.
In the Gastropoda, the name Snail is used to identify animals of the Gastropoda class with shell large enough to contain the animal when they retract completely into the its shell.
Now, here is a brief feature of the three subclasses of the Gastropod.
- Prosobranchia is most of the marine snails, some land, and freshwater species.
- The Pulmonata are mostly land snails with lungs.
- Opisthobranchia is a marine species, that exist mostly without shell or are reduced when they exist.
The land snails are snails that live on land and are referred to as Gastropod mollusks, while the aquatic snails are snails that live in water.
Nature of Land snails
- Snails are nocturnal animals, meaning that most of their activities take place at night.
- Snails have a shell, used for protection, it does not end there, the shell is like a “home” out of home for snails.
- What does that mean, snails retreat completely into this shell once it notices any danger, isn’t that like another home?
- The Snail has a mouth but no teeth, they have a mouth with rows of chitin teeth used to break and scrape food.
- Snails have no backbone and therefore are invertebrates.
- Snails love a moist environment and therefore can’t survive dryness or hot environment.
- Snail produces new snail (recreation) by laying eggs.
Snails lay eggs, but unlike other egg-laying animals, they do not contribute to the hatching of their eggs, they lay eggs and cover the eggs.
Snail eggs hatch, mostly after 21 days, but times are that they won’t hatch after 21 days, they can delay in some cases but will still hatch.
To understand snail as a farmer, you need to study their behavior, they are often different from other animals, in behavior and response.
Characters and behavior of Land snails
- Snails hibernate during the colder months of the year and estivate during summer/hot months (Estivation is a state of dormancy in animals, it is similar to hibernation, but it takes place in the summer).
This is believed to be one of the reasons they live long (over five to ten years or more depending on the management and handling of the snail).
- Snails when feeling threatened, retreat into their shell to protect themselves from the presumed danger.
This helps them to avoid being harmed by other animals.
- Snails excrete mucus during movement, the mucus (which they leave behind during movement) has been misunderstood by many.
Some believe it is capable of making human sick but that’s false.
- Snails are easy to maintain and fast-adapting animals that prefer humid places.
- Adult snails have a size of about 7 cm with a height of 20 cm or can be longer.
The color of the shell or shell varies widely and depends on the diet. Usually brown is the dominant color.
Life cycle of land snail
Snails can have a long life. The average snail life starts from the hatching of the eggs (a process that marks the beginning of life for a snail).
Once hatched the new snails are capable of moving, in some animals.
The newborn find it hard to move unless the mucus covering the newborn are licked by the mother but that is not the case with snail.
Growth in snail is a gradual process, feeding, type of feed, a system of farming, management, and habitat are all contributors to “how the snails grow” as well as “how fast they grow”.
Land Snails lifespan
The life expectancy of snails depends on their habitat, the species, and how well they are managed.
Some of them only live for about five (5) years while some exceeded 5 years and live up to 10 years.
Body Structure of Land snails
The snail body is covered by its shell which is made up of chitin, the shell contains calcium carbonate and is used by the snail for protection.
The shell grows along with them and gets bigger as the snail grows.
Land snails have two main sets of tentacles, the upper one carries the eyes, while the lower one has the olfactory organs.
The picture below is a good representation of the snail, showing its body parts.
With a good understanding of the structure of the snail, here is the environmental need for snails.
Land Snails’ Habitat
Snails live in both water and on soil, therefore, we have aquatic and terrestrial snails.
Like rightly stated, they can survive drought or harsh conditions, but will need to hibernate and become inactive.
Snails enjoy humidity of 75 to 95%, climate 60-77 F, temperature 70F.
Ideal water content/humidity of 80%, and organic matter content of 25 – 40%. Understanding the environmental need of snail is good for your snail production.
So it’s advisable as a snail farmer or an intending farmer to understand the nature of snail habitat.
Reproduction in Land Snails
Snails are Hermaphrodites, meaning they have the reproductive organs of both males and females, does this mean a snail doesn’t need another snail to reproduce?
No even as hermaphrodites, Snails do not reproduce on their own.
Snails lay eggs after mating, the eggs are incubated and hatched to produce offspring (baby snail).
How do snails mate?
Snails are ready to mate being around 6-7 months old. During the mating period.
The female snails will begin to move away to a safer place, snails release chemicals to attract partners, they mate and lay eggs, their mating is always like they are fighting.
The number of eggs produced can vary depending on the reproductive strength of the two involved snails.
It usually exceeds 50 to 100 per head.
You can even get more, a snail farmer who understands his snails can help them improve their reproductive ability through selective proper feeding.
Feeds such as moringa are good for snails on getting to the maturity stage.
Once snails are done with laying of eggs, hatching is the next process to take place.
It occurs naturally. (Hatching of snail eggs is a natural process), it is for now not carried out through any artificial method.
Egg hatching in Land snails
After laying eggs, snails dig the soil and bury the eggs, (cover it with soil), sometimes the eggs are picked by the farmer and taken to a better and safer side of the pen for incubation and hatching.
The eggs are softened as they stay in the soil, the soft-shelled eggs hatch from 14 days to 1 month.
For a better understanding of hatching in the snail, here is a video of snail egg hatching, don’t forget that we already stated that it is not the snail that hatches the egg.
The snail practically plays no role after laying the eggs.
Below is a video showing hatching in snail
Young snails need calcium to develop or harden their shell once they are hatched. Once hatched, the snail is ready to move.
Movement in Land Snail
As we rightly stated in the snail characteristic and behavior category, snails move immediately after hatching.
Snails are known for their slow movement, one of the slowest creatures in the world.
The reason some call them Lazy Animals, during movement, snails leave behind a trail of mucus.
This mucus acts as a lubricant to reduce friction against the surface where they pass.
As slow as snails are, they move at a very steady pace.
Growth in Land snail
Once a snail starts moving, growth and development have started unanimously.
Quality feeding is a plus to how well snails grow, how good the product, and most times how long they live.
The growth of snail is a gradual process, at first (after hatching).
They appear not growing, but within 1 month of hatching, a noticeable change in size and weight will be noticed.
Snails should be fed with calcium at the preliminary stage of life.
This improves the shell (hardening), not to forget that the shell grows with the snails. Achatina Achatina is believed to be one of the largest land snails.
Maturity in Land Snail
Snails mature from six (6) to eight (8) months, but this can be altered; they can mature within four (4) to five (5) months when managed very well.
To maintain continuity of snails, they are kept and reared by farmers.
Land Snail Size
Land Snails length ranges from a few centimeters (say 2cm) to 12 inches. They can be large sometimes (Achitina achatina).
Achatina achatina, (the Giant African Snail) is known for its large size and good for farming because it produces quality meat due to its size.
It is also important to note that the size of a snail at maturity varies and depends majorly on the species and how well the snails were managed
Though maturity may occur at the same time no matter the species.
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Conclusively, I am very certain it has been a long journey getting to the end of this post.
I hope you were able to read from beginning till this part.
The Snail is quite an interesting animal, very profitable and lucrative to farm. I personally will encourage anybody to go into snail farming.
You certainly will have your testimonies rolling out in no time. You don’t need much resources to start your snail farm.
Let’s know your view about snail in the comment box below. We would love to hear from you.