EFFECTS OF HOUSING TYPES ON GROWTH PERFORMANCE AND REPRODUCTIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF TWO SPECIES OF EDIBLE SNAIL (ACHATINA FULICA AND ACHATINA ACHATINA)

AUTHOR: MOGBO, TOCHUKWU CHINEDU

DEPARTMENT: ZOOLOGY

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA

This research, carried out for a period of thirty-six (36) weeks, investigated the influence of housing types on growth performance and reproductive characteristics of two edible snail species (Achatina fulica (F) and Achatina achatina (L)). One hundred and eighty (180) juvenile snails were used (90 of each species) and thirty (30) snails of each species were subjected to each of the three housing treatments in replicates of 15 snails per replicate. The housing treatments had the same dimensions (120cm x 60cm x 30cm) and were labeled: Treatment A (Hutch box), Treatment B (Trench pen) and Treatment C (Mini-paddock pen). The housing treatments and its surroundings were fitted with a digital thermometer and hygrometer to take daily readings of internal and ambient temperature and humidity. The snails in each replicate were fed daily rations of 60g of dry Guinea corn bran, 50g ground egg shell, and water was also supplied. The growth parameters investigated were: weekly weight gain, weekly increase in shell length and weekly increase in shell circumference. The reproductive parameters investigated were egg production and hatchability of eggs. Other parameters investigated were mortality, hibernation, temperature and humidity variations. Treatment C produced the highest yield in all the growth parameters for both Achatina fulica and Achatina achatina and means of the weight gain and increase in shell circumference were statistically significant (p < 0.05) at 3, 6 and 9 months for Achatina achatina but were not significant for Achatina fulica. The means of the shell length increase were also not significant (p > 0.05) for the both snail species at 3, 6 and 9 months. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in the means of the reproductive parameters even though the highest yield of egg production and hatchability of eggs were observed in Treatment C for both snail species. The least snail mortality and hibernation for both snail species was observed in treatment C. The temperature variation was lowest in Treatment C (4.0oC) and highest in Treatment B (6.9oC). The humidity variation was also lowest in Treatment C (14.5%) and highest in Treatment B (15.9%). Treatment C proved to be the best housing type for the production of Achatina achatina and the study recommends that it can be used as nursery, growing and fattening pens for rearing Achatina achatina in the tropics to produce best result while any of the housing types can be used for rearing Achatina fulica.

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