What do snails eat?
Land snails have similar eating habit, they enjoy a wide variety of food ranging from naturally occurring food materials to formulate feeds.
But they do not eat everything like many say, in this snail food guide, we will answer the question what do snails eat.
We will discuss the different type of snail food, where to source for your snail food
Finally what not to feed your snails. if you are confused about what to feed your snails to grow fast.
Stick with this guide, you will learn everything you need to know including how to formulate snail food.
What you need to know about feeding in snail
Snails are nocturnal animals and therefore most of their activities take place during the night hours or dark morning hours.
Snails source for food at night using their strong sense of smell as an advantage.
They are also cold-blooded animal and therefore their feeding activities are bound to be influenced by their environment, time and season.
The moisture content of the soils inside the pen (snail house) is okay, you can irrigate the pen (apply water to help moderate the temperature of the pen).
The temperature should not be more than 25cm while the humidity should be around 75cm
What do Snails eat?
Snails eat fruits, Leaves and Vegetable, Flowers, Tubers, calcium supplements, (for the purpose of energy) plants and water.
Snail food varies from species to another because some snails are carnivores, some omnivores while others are herbivores in feeding.
Herbivores snails consume plants like mushrooms, bark, plant crops, leaves, fungi, Cowpea, Soya beans, dried Moringa leaves, and dried cassava leaves (blended into a powder).
Carnivorous snails eat earthworms, annelids, slugs, conch, and calcium for shell production.
List of snail food
- Calcium content
- Mixed food content.
1. Snails eat Calcium supplement
Calcium is one of the most important food for snails, snails need a steady supply of calcium to build and repair shell.
Calcium supplements or extract can be gotten from bone meal, grind shell of dead snails, crushed cuttlebone, and wood ash.
How to get calcium for snail
You can buy calcium from retailers in the market, get from eggshells or even snail shell (dead snails shell).
Grind the shells into powdered form and combine them with your snail food.
You can also buy from fellow snail farmers.
2. Snails eat Fruits
Even though fruits are nutritious and an important part of snail food because of the minerals and vitamins snail drives from fruits, ONLY 10% of a Snails diet needs to be fruit.
Snails who are fed too much sugar can suffer from several diseases and deformities.
So please limit yourself to feeding fruit as a treat and never more than a small portion once a week.
Some snails tend to like sweet and soft food and will overeat fruits such as banana and ripe pears, so remember to portion size for them.
Feed them fruits like Pumpkins, watermelon, grapes. Apple, grape, kiwi, mango, melon, nectarine.
Others are passion fruit, cucumber, cherries (ripe one), apricot, currant, blueberries, cherry, cranberry, dragon fruit.
3. Snails eat Vegetables and leaves
Vegetables are important for snail reproductive health.
They eat carrots, peas, lettuce, and leafy greens. Broccoli, cassava, eggplant, celery, cabbage, beans, spinach onion greens.
Snails eat leaves of cocoyam, kola, mushroom, carrot, beans, broccoli, eggplant, cassava, Apple etc.
4. Snails eat Flowers
Snail eats edible flowers such as hibiscus, cauliflower, sunflower, rose.
5. Snails eat Tubers
Snail gets carbohydrate from common tubers such as yam, sweet potatoes, cocoyam, cassava, plantain, etc.
These tubers are a good source of energy to snails. They are needed on a regular basis by snails.
6. Snails eat Fruit Peels and garden products
Snails eat peels from plant and or garden products such as aquatic plants, algae, fish food, shrimp pellets, freshwater.
Fruit peels such as plantain and banana peels.
What do snails drink?
7. Snails drink non-chlorinated Water
Water is an important part of snail food, snails need water as much as they need food.
Supply water to the snails using flat plates for easy access by the snails.
Chlorinated water is harmful to the snails and should be avoided.
You can supply water to the snails by placing a shallow bowl filled with water beside the snail foods.
For your snails to drink, note that the water must be clean and devoid of chlorine.
Remove the water after one of two days by then which it would have been unclean, add another and irrigate the pen as well.
You can also supply your snail’s liquids from fruits or vegetable if need be.
8. Snails eat formulated feed
Aside from the normal vegetable, leaves, flower and fruit, snails also enjoy formulated feed
How to formulate food for snails
In formulating snail feeds, you must understand the nutrient content of the ingredient to be used so as to combine the ingredient in the right proportion to achieve the desired result.
For example, if we want to formulate a 27% carbohydrate-containing food for snails using cocoyam, cassava, sweet potatoes and plantain as ingredients.
You have to note the weight per percentage of carbohydrate contained in each of cocoyam, cassava, sweet potatoes and plantain
|SN||Ingredient used in (kg)||Percentage of
|1.||20kg of cocoyam||10% carbohydrate|
|2.||5kg of cassava||8% carbohydrate|
|3.||15kg of plantain||10% carbohydrate|
|4.||10kg of sweet potatoes||2% carbohydrate|
From the above ingredient, 20kg of cocoyam gave us 10% carbohydrate, 5kg of cassava gave 8% carbohydrate.
15kg of plantain gave 10% carbohydrate and 10kg of sweet potatoes gave 2% of carbohydrate.
Let’s assume that we want to formulate snail food that has the following percentage of carbohydrate in each ingredient.
|5% carbohydrate in Cocoyam|
|10% carbohydrate in Cassava|
|8% carbohydrate in Plantain|
|4% carbohydrate in Sweet potatoes|
|TOTAL = 27% carbohydrate in all the ingredient which is our desired carbohydrate content of the feed.|
Then if 20kg of cocoyam gives us 10% of carbohydrate what kg of cocoyam do we need to get 5% of carbohydrate?
We will have xkg10%=20kg5%
To get this clear, let’s do without the signs
You have 10x=100
That is to say, to get 5% of carbohydrate in cocoyam, we need to measure out 10kg of cocoyam.
Do this for the rest, you will have the following results.
|SN||Ingredient used in (kg)||Percentage of
|1.||10kg of cocoyam||5% carbohydrate|
|2.||6.25kg of cassava||10% carbohydrate|
|3.||10kg of plantain||8% carbohydrate|
|4.||20kg of sweet potatoes||4% carbohydrate|
Now we can measure out the desired kgs so as to get our desired percentage of carbohydrate in each ingredient.
Note that this is only applicable if the weight and percentage of the desired nutrient per weight are known.
Table of snail food
|Fruit||cherry, cranberry, dragon fruit, grape, kiwi, mango, melon, nectarine, passion fruit, peach, pears, plantains, strawberries, watermelon and tomato, peach etc.|
|Tubers||yam, sweet potatoes, cocoyam, cassava, plantain|
|Leaves and Vegetable||carrots, peas, lettuce, and leafy greens. Broccoli, cassava, eggplant, celery, cabbage, beans, spinach onion|
|Calcium supplement||Native plants, leaf surfaces, and grass|
|Flowers||hibiscus, cauliflower, sunflower, rose.|
|Water and other mixed food content||Snail drink water to maintain moderate body temperature|
Precaution to be taken during snail feed formulation
To get the desired result from formulating food for snails, the following condition must be met.
- Measure all ingredients to be used
- Understand the snail’s needs before formulating a feed to solve such need.
- Grind the ingredients to powdered form before formulation.
- Ensure you take a correct measurement.
- Write down each measured parameters with the name.
Just like in every other animal, feeding in snail is a daily practice, most times happen more than once in a day.
Precaution to be taken when feeding the snail
- Do not feed your snails with spoilt food: this happens mostly with fruits like cucumber.
Once they are decaying or rotten, kindly do away with them as they are capable of attracting insect into your snail pen.
Insects are dangerous to snails.
- Wash the food if necessary: Before feeding your snails with food materials like unripe pawpaw, ensure that they are washed after peeling them before supplying them to the snails.
- Clean the pen before supplying food: in your snail pen, the side on which you drop food for your snails should be cleaned before introducing another food.
- The pen should be moist: the moisture content of the pen is important during feeding.
Snails will normally roam around the pen in search of food at night hours.
This becomes easier when the pen is moist enough and conducive for their movement.
You must note
Snails eat more wet and moist food and demand more water during the dry season.
The content of the food is more important than how many times you supply them with food.
Here are the benefits of proper feeding in snail farming.
Benefits of proper feeding in snail
1. Proper feeding improves the health of your snail.
- Properly fed snails are not found wanting health-wise, so there will be fewer expenses on medication.
- It reduces the vulnerability of the snails to disease and infection: proper feeding increases the snail’s ability to resist diseases and infection.
This is a common occurrence in farm animals, feeding boost the immune systems and improves their ability to withstand attack by pathogens and other disease-causing organisms.
2. Properly feed snails have a high market value.
When snails are fed properly, they appear healthier, they tend to be more vibrant and respond to touch, stimulus and changes quickly.
These are features most retailers and buyers lookout for, once your snails are found wanting in these features.
Their price automatically goes down, unlike when they exhibit these features in the market.
3. Proper feeding of your snails generally reduces the cost of managing your farm.
When properly fed, unforeseen expenses are cupped.
It generally reduces the burden of managing your snails
This is because, they hardly get infected as they can boast of a boosted immune system, healthier life, and quick response.
4. Snails don’t necessarily eat constantly when feed properly, they tend to have a reduced feeding system.
Harmful Food you must not feed your snails
- Never feed your snails salty food: Salty foods dehydrate snails, making it hard for them to survive.
You must not feed your snails salty food, in fact, do not let salty go near your snail farm.
Salt is dangerous to snails.
- Chlorinated water: You must avoid letting your snails test chlorinated water.
Avoid any source of water that pose any chemical content, or treat the water before supplying it to your snails. chlorinated water is harmful to snails.
- Starchy food: Starchy foods are not easily digestible and end up blocking the snail’s internal organs.
Starchy foods like rice, pasta etc. should not be fed to the snails to avoid complications.
- spoilt food: Avoid feeding the snails spoilt or contaminated food, they are not good for the health of the snails, snails can easily be infected through the consumption of contaminated food substances. Avoid it.
FAQs and their answers
How often can you feed your snails?
The mode and timing of feeding are dependent on the farmer and is decided based on what works for his/her snails, how they have been trained from the onset.
Some snail framers feed their snails once daily, some twice and some once in two days, this rationing is dependent on farmer’s need, how fast the snails are desired to mature, farmer’s budget and the farmer’s target.
What happens with quality feeding?
When snails are fed with food material containing a right proportion of nutrients and in large quantity, the food tends to stay longer in them.
This is because, the nutrient content is in large quantity and proportion, and therefore takes longer time to be exhausted.
Summary of what do snails eat
Conclusively, Snails eat different varieties of food and are constantly changing in their food demand as they grow into maturity.
Newly born snails require a lot of calcium for the development and thickening of the shell.
Snails are more active in wet weather conditions due to the moisture and tend to consume more food during this period.
Snails prefer to feed in the dark, hence you should note that when supplying them with food.
The temperature inside the pen is also hugely important, ensure that the snails are comfortable.
Preparing food for snails involves not just supplying them with food but understanding how to formulate the right proportion, your snail feed.
It is important to know that proper feeding implies feeding the snails with the right proportion of food and not necessarily about constantly supplying them with food.
Feeding is quite an important management practice.
It plays an important role in the marketing aspect of your farm, how much they are priced in the market.
How your snails look and it also reduces the need for constant medication.
Supplying the right proportion of food for snails should be every farmer’s priority.
It aids in their general growth and saves the running cost of your snail farm.
We hope this post has been helpful in your understanding what snails eat snails and how to formulate snail food.
Let us know your thought in the comment below, as always, we will love to hear from you.