BIO-OBJECTS

The East African land snail, or giant African land snail, scientific name Achatina fulica, is a species of large, air-breathing land snail. This snail is native to East Africa, however the species has been widely introduced to Asia, the Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, and to the West Indies.

The adult snails have a height of around 7 centimetres (2.8 in), and their length can reach 20 centimetres (7.9 in) or more. The giant East African snail is a macrophytophagous herbivore; it eats a wide range of plant material, fruit and vegetables. In captivity, snails need cuttlebone to aid the growth and strength for their shells. As with all molluscs, they enjoy the yeast in beer, which serves as a growth stimulus.

The Giant East African Snail is a simultaneous hermaphrodite; each individual has both testes and ovaries and is capable of producing both sperm and ova. Like other land snails, these have intriguing mating behaviour, including petting their heads and front parts against each other. Courtship can last up to half an hour, and the actual transfer of gametes can last for two hours. The number of eggs per clutch averages around 200.

Adult size is reached in about six months; after which growth slows but does not ever cease. Life expectancy is commonly five or six years in captivity, but the snails may live for up to ten years. They are active at night and spend the day buried underground.

Achatina fulica is used for religious purposes in Brazil as deity offering to Obatala as a substitute for the African Giant Snail (Archachatina marginata) that is used in Nigeria, because they are known by the same name (Igbin, also known as Ibi or Boi-de-Oxalá in Brazil) in both Brazil and Nigeria.







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The National Centre for contemporary arts gratefully acknowledges the generous support
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