The “Italian” outdoor snailfarming technology assumes that both mature and juvenile snails hibernate outdoor, protected by a thin sheet of unweaved coverlet (agryl sheet). In contrast, the “French” snailfarming technology implies that only mature brown garden snails (Helix aspersa) hibernate indoor, in strictly controlled microenvironmental parameters (temperature, humidity, and ventilation). This technology may also be viable for H. aspersa juveniles. Extremely high death rates occurring in Romanian outdoor snailfarms during colder winters (>80%) imposed the need to find alternative paths for a proper hibernation of H. aspersa. Using statistical analyses, close surveillance of technological flow, and controlled microenvironmental parameters, we assessed the possibility to adapt indoor hibernation for H. aspersa juveniles. The experiments lasted for 2 years (2006–2008) and were carried out on 34,000 H. aspersa juveniles and 15,000 mature ones, using different technological flows and microenvironmental parameters (temperature, humidity, and ventilation). They were performed in two stages and involved five case studies, conducted independently in three different locations: Floreşti (Mehedinţi county), Sântuhalm (Hunedoara county), and Muntenii de Sus (Vaslui county). The first stage tested the hypothesis in relation to survival rate of mature snails, H. aspersa, in the same conditions, whereas the second stage improved the technological flow, before its extensive application. We demonstrated that noncontrolled microclimate parameters (temperature, humidity, and ventilation) and the use of straw as hibernation support induced significant differences (P < 0.01) concerning death levels of H. aspersa juveniles as compared to their indoor hibernation in semicontrolled microclimate (temperature and ventilation). In the same hibernation microclimate, mature snails exhibited higher survival levels than the juvenile ones, irrespective of technological flow and origin (P < 0.0001). We also demonstrated that juveniles’ weight loss displays a relatively constant variation (16.33–20.51%). In addition, the correlations between the individual average weight before and after hibernation were described by the same logarithmic regression. Furthermore, significantly higher survival rates of H. aspersa juveniles (P < 0.0001) have been registered when they had not been awakened during hibernation. Finally, we proved that indoor hibernation of H. aspersa juveniles in strictly controlled microenvironmental parameters (temperature, humidity, and ventilation) could represent a viable technology that improves the technological flow in outdoor snailfarming during wintertime in colder climates.
Part of the book: Invertebrates