Archachatina marginata swaison (African Giant Siam) is one of the important minor forest products which are abundant in tropical West African (Swaninson, 1991). It is restricted to areas like Benin republic in West Africa (Bequeert, 1950 and Moad, 1950). Omole (2000) asserted that Archachatina margniata is the largest snail in Africa.

            Literature review on the body weight of snails has remained inconsistent   (Ebenebe et al., 2011). Omole, (2002) reported a body weight gain of 0.41g/day. Hamzet et al (2005) reported a mean daily weight gain of 1.16g while Ejidike (2000) reported 0.50g in a six months study period.
            The inconsistency agrees with Stievenart (1992) that prove that variation in body weight of snails are related to the hydration stage.
            Archachatina marginata is economically important because the species is in high demand as a protein source in many West Africa countries including Nigeria (Ajayi et al., 1978), where the meat is a luxury food.
            Despite the importance of the species, Archachatina marginata is not cultivated on a commercial level as a result of human-related problems like deforestation. Also because of its collection for food and its long pre-reproduction life and low fecundity (Ajaysi et al., 1978 and Egonmwan, 2004), the natural population in the wild is dwindling.
            However,  in recent years, the commercial potential  of the species is being  investigated  by  many amateur snail farmers and more attention is being paid  to farming of the giant  snail as  opposed  to exploitation of  the wild  population. In Nigeria, snails have been raised in small pens in many areas either as backyard activity to supplement house hold income and protein supply or as large scale commercial activity.

Snails like other animals need the basic nutrients (energy, protein, fats, amino-acid, vitamins and mineral for optimum functioning of metabolic  reactions involved in growth maintenance, shell formation, production and reproduction (Imevbore and Ademosun, 1988). The choice of feeding materials are based on available information that snails are vegetarians (FAO, 1986 and Philips, 1992) to the extent to which each of the feeding materials can influence the growth rate of snails. Snails’ requirements for calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium are relatively high compared to other animals. These minerals determine the rate of shell secretion by the mantle and for the rapid development of shell (Imevbore and Ademosun, 1988). Vitamins can not be synthesized by snails so must be provided in the diets (Imevbore and Ademosun, 1988)

Crude Protein
Snails require crude protein like other speices of animals for growth and production. According to Ejidike (2001) snails, require crude protein levels of 20-25% for optimal growth.

Energy Requirement
Metabolisable energy requirement for maintenance of animals is affected by ambient temperature (Balnave and Farrel, 1978). Snail should therefore eat more high energy ration.

The potential of snails as an animal protein source has been emphasized by many authors (Nigbert, 1974; Jennifer, 1975; Datin, 1992; Hamzat et al., 2005; Adetono, 2000; Awah, 2000; Ejidike 2001; Omole, 2002).
Snails have been reported to be rich in protein, 12-18% on wet basis (Awah, 2000) and 52- 53% on dry matter basis (Barcelo, 1981). Snail meat is also low in fat and it is reported to have some medical properties (Aweh, 2000).
Many feasibility tests have been done on snails as a source of nutrition (protein) in developing countries like Nigeria. Researchers baked snails’ pies and gave them to young mothers and children living in Nigeria. To their surprise, most of the children as well as their mothers preferred the tests and texture of the snail pie over that of beef pie. This is good news since snails are readily available source of nutrition that can be easily collected and prepared as food. No farmland is required to raise them and large pool of labour is not needed to collect them and turn them into meals.
Considering this question, is eating snail nutritious? Snails are surprisingly nutritious, high in protein and very low in saturated fat. One ounce of snail has five grams of protein and is an excellent source of essential fatty acids. They are also a good source of vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Vitamin K, magnesium, iron, and selenium.
Ajayi (1978) indicated that snail meat is particularly rich in protein and iron. Bender (1992) reported that the amino acids in the protein of snail would complement the cereal source of protein by making good of their relative deficiency of lysine. The low fat content and low cholesterol level make snail meat a good antidote for vascular disease such as heart attack, cardiac arrest, hypertension and stroke. 


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