Snails


Heliciculture is the process of farming or raising edible terrestrial snails. "Escargot" most commonly refers to either Helix aspersa or to Helix pomatia, although other varieties of snails are eaten.



State Regulations for Snail Farming

State laws also apply to imports into certain states and to raising snails in a given state. Your state also may inspect and approve snail farming facilities. Contact your State's Agriculture Department. Other State government departments that cover natural resources, fish and wildlife, or environmental resources also may regulate specific snail species.


Permits and Restrictions


Regulated Organism and Soil Permits: Snails and Slugs

USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Division.

This Web page details USDA PPQ Plant Pest Permits required for the importation or interstate movement of live snails, and certain restrictions on the culture, release or interstate movement of snails. "USDA will authorize interstate movement of live snails for the purpose of establishing a snail farm." "USDA may permit the interstate movement of snails or slugs for educational use in classrooms as well as other uses."


Species Profiles: Giant African Snail

USDA. NAL. National Invasive Species Information Center.

Federally Regulated: Snails in the genus Achatina (e.g., Achatina fulica, the Giant African Snail), are specifically prohibited for both interstate movement and importation into the U.S. This snail species group is not only strictly prohibited from entering the U.S. but is safeguarded when discovered.


Containment Guidelines for Nonindigenous Snails (PDF | 33 KB)

USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.

"These guidelines are a reference to help you...design, build, maintain, and operate a facility for specific types of organisms-- in particular, nonindigenous snails...). "While snails may not require a containment facility, their great reproductive potential and ability to escape coupled with their plant feeding activities means that great care should go into developing plans to house and contain them."


Low-acid Canned Food

USDA. Food and Drug Administration.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the canning of low-acid foods such as snails. "All commercial processors of low-acid and acidified foods located in the United States and all processors in other countries who export low-acid canned food or acidified food products into the United States must register their processing plants with FDA."


Successful Business Planning


Starting a Small Business

USDA. NAL. Rural Information Center.

Learn how to develop a business plan and marketing strategies. Identify issues to consider before starting a business. Locate business planning guides and toolkits.


Start2Farm.gov - Successful Planning

Start2Farm.gov
USDA. National Agricultural Library.

Learn how to develop a business plan and other basics of starting a new agricultural business.


Snail Farming


Of Snails

Project Gutenberg

"Of Snails." Roman Farm Management: The Treatises of Cato and Varro. Trans. "A Virginia Farmer," from Varro's Rerum Rusticarum, Libri III. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1913. pp. 325-327. Project Gutenberg e-book edition. Scroll down to _Of Snails_ in section XIV.


Farming Snails 1: Learning about Snails; Building a Pen; Food and Shelter Plants

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

This Better Farming Series booklet provides basic information on what is needed to start snail farming, snail species, soil and water, plants for food and shelter, optimal temperature and moisture, and land selection, among other topics.


Farming Snails 2: Choosing Snails; Care and Harvesting; Further Improvement

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

This Better Farming Series booklet describes how to select and care for snails, when and how to build a second pen, how to harvest snails, and more.


Man and Mollusc's Data Base of Edible Molluscs

Bourquin, Avril

This listing includes the country where each species is found and eaten, general descriptive information, images, recipes and Web links.


Snail Cultivation (Heliciculture)

Nordsieck, Robert

Discusses the history of heliciculture, snail culture and processing of edible snails, food habits, snail reproduction, and more.


Istituto Internazionale di Elicicoltura

The International Institute of Heliciculture. Cherasco, Italy


Farming Edible Snails - Lessons from Italy (PDF | 1.9 MB)

Begg, Sonya.
Australia: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. December 2003.
RIRDC Publication no. 03/137. RIRDC Project no. SF1-1A

"This booklet describing possible techniques for production of edible snails has been prepared by Sonya Begg following a visit to the International Snail Farming Institute and attendance at an International Conference of Snail Farmers in Italy."


Australian Free-range Snails - Marketing Strategies (PDF | 6 MB)

Begg, Sonya
March 2010.

Discusses markets and marketing techniques for land snails in Australia.


Free-range Snail Farming in Australia (PDF | 60 KB)

Begg, Sonya. Australia: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. August 2006.
RIRDC Publication no. 06/104. RIRDC Project no. SFI-1A.

Reports on a research project to "assess the viability of an alternative method of mass producing edible snails" using "the Italian method of farming snails in pasture production or free range production" rather than using small enclosures or greenhouses. Discusses breeding Helix aspersa Muller.


Breeding and Growing Snails Commercially in Australia

Murphy, Brendan
Australia: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. 2001.
RIRDC Project no. ARH-1A. RIRDC Publication no. 00/188.

"This report investigates the feasibility of establishing an economically viable edible snail industry in Australia." It describes growing and breeding snails on a commercial level, and provides information on production and management, market potential, and economic analysis.


Biology of Gastropod Molluscs

Chase, Ronald
McGill University, Biology Department, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Publications and Websites about Snail Farming

Search for books or article citations on snail culture in the USDA, National Agricultural Library's Catalog (AGRICOLA). Search GOOGLE for information about raising snails.


Snail and Slug Control


How to Manage Pests: Snails and Slugs

University of California. Agriculture and Natural Resources.

These California Statewide IPM Program guidelines describe how snails and slugs damage plants and offer methods for eliminating or managing these plant pests. Snail and slug management techniques include landscape and garden planning, handpicking, traps, barriers, natural enemies, and baits.


Coping with Slugs and Snails

This article by Becky Long discusses "least-toxic strategies" to control slug and snail populations. (Journal of Pesticide Reform, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 22-23. Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, 1996.)


Slugs and Snails (PDF | 124 KB)

University of Maryland. Cooperative Extension Service.

This Home and Garden bulletin describes non-chemical and chemical control strategies for slugs and snails, including the brown garden snail, helix aspersa.


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