Wednesday, 24 June 2015 10:26

SNAIL GREENHOUSES. New business models in the Agricultural Sector

For some time we receive the request to budget greenhouses snails and from Novedades Agricolas, we ask ourselves:

1. At what level of production is a profitable production model?

2. What is the greenhouse structure more suitable for breeding of snails?

The heliculture is defined as the rational breeding in captivity for commercial purposes, of edible land snails. The snails are present in the history of mankind since its inception, since they have been a part in human nutrition, religions, arts, medicine and traditions of different cultures from all periods.

In the early twentieth century, because of the demand for snails with gourmet aim its economic value increased, leading to the emergence of snail farming for sale.

Currently we could already talk about breeding land snails or heliculture as an internationally recognized zootechnical activity despite the variety of existing farming systems.


Partial Breeding System:

It is based on the introduction of small snails collected in free state breeding places, which are fed and harvested after the lethargy stage. The negative aspects of partial system (just fattening) are:

  • The need to collect or buy snails every year.
  • The mortality rate is very high due to limited habitat in captivity, to the frequent concentration, to the forced feeding and generally due to poor hygienic conditions that usually have these breeding spaces.
  • At present European regulations prohibit the collection of wild snails due to health risks.

Full Breeding System Life Cycle:

This system distinguishes staged production based on the life cycle of the snail. So we have the following production structures:

  • Multiplication breeding: They are prepared and studied the effect of introducing reproductive snails meant to adapt and multiply. When the snails reach the necessary weight to transfer to the breeding ground for fattening, it is made an acclimatization prior to the transfer.
  • Fattening breeding: In this room snails are taken to the required weight for commercial sale.

For the development of snails in captivity, environmental conditions must be artificially controlled, technical recommendations are temperatures between 15 ° C and 20 ° C and relative humidity between 75% and 90%.


Open breeding:

Production takes place in exposed areas without coverage or protective structures. The advantages of this system is that it reduces the need for cleaning and allows breeding directly on the native flora, without providing food, but limits the growth of snails due to weather.

Closed breeding:

Production takes place indoors, usually greenhouses or containers so that they remain isolated from the outside. It is a more intensive production system that requires more labor and less subject to the risk of predators, insects, rodents, etc.

Greenhouses for snail farming

There are multiple systems for growing snails, but the professionalization of the sector results in increased demands on the design of breeding enclosures. At present the most demanded greenhouse is the traditional greenhouse, namely the tunnel greenhouse model with plastic or mesh cover, depending on the climate of the area. Another greenhouse model which ask us for a budget for this purpose, would be the net or shade greenhouse.

Associated Technology

  • Shelters: They are wood or plastic structures to generate shaded areas using snails for shelter when weather conditions are bad.
  • Irrigation systems:  They are used to irrigate plants that serve as food for snails.
  • Feeding hoppers: They are not usually necessary, but they can be used for the application of feed, calcium supplements, etc.
  • Cooling system: Technologies such as fog misting system are used to increase the relative humidity and lower the temperature.
  • Shading system: Mesh or shade screens are used to reduce the radiation level in greenhouses especially in summer.

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