Snake farming is a very lucrative business in which people engage in by rearing different species of snakes for commercial purposes. There is high demand for it but, only a few number of people are involved in the business because of the huge risk involved in it.
Location is not a barrier when it comes to this business because no matter where one finds oneself doing the business, there is always a ready market for it.
There are various species of snakes in the world, some of which include the copperhead, black mamba, rattlesnake, cobra, anaconda, boa, bull snake, garter, hognose, king snake, python and rat snake, among others. Snakes are generally believed to be harmful but some are harmless species like the boa, bull snake, garter, hognose, king snake, python and rat snake.
However, snake farming business is either legal or illegal based on the country one finds oneself. But, in the case of Nigeria, it is legal and lucrative.
The biggest snake farm in Nigeria is owned by one of the most powerful men in the country. It is called the Tukur & Tukur Snakes Farm owned by Tukur Yusuf Buratai who is the Chief of army staff in the country. Of course it generates millions, probably billions yearly.
It is located in Nassarawa state very close to Abuja. More reason why snake farming is a very lucrative business is because of its benefit to mankind.
Benefits of snakes
The benefits of snakes are much, check out some of the benefits below;
Pharmaceutical companies: Due to the high demand for snake venom by pharmaceutical companies, the price of snake venom has become very high. The current suppliers of these venom are yet to meet the demand, so there is always a market for it. Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars each year to purchase snakes or snake venom.
These spending may soon get into billions if ongoing research on the use of snake venom to cure cancer is positive. With this money being splash around by Pharmaceutical companies, there are actually few suppliers of snakes and snake venom because of the risk involved in it.
Snake venom are used for various researches which includes finding antidote for snake bites. There is also a report being done by professors that snake venom can be used to cure cancer.
Also, they use the gall bladders, livers and skin of snakes to create nutritional supplements which are ultimately sold to customers ,Europe, South Korea, America, and japan.
In addition, snakes are considered medicinal in different parts of the world. In China, snake meat is regarded as a “warming” food, and its blood is often mixed with liquor to produce a virility enhancer. In South American, dried or powdered snake meat is mixed with other herbs and roots to produce traditional medicine, which is believed to cure various sickness and illnesses
Pets: Some harmless species of snakes like pythons, rat snakes, hognose, corn snakes, king snakes, boas, garters and bull snake can be kept as pets. Although there might not patronage for snake as pets in Nigeria, exporting these harmless breeds of snakes can bring in some good foreign earnings.
Fashion industry: The high demand for the skin of snakes like python has increased the profitability of snake business in the world. Wears like original belts, shoes, jackets and even bags are made with snake skins.
Zoos: Some special snake breeds can attract a whole lot of money when sold to zoos.
Restaurants: Snake meats are delicacies among some tribes. Even in some cities, restaurants that serve snake meat delicacies are getting popular. People that eat it say it tastes like fish and therefore great for pepper soups.
The bigger the size of the snake, the higher the money it brings. Snakes are eaten as meat by a good number of the world population. Snake meat contains protein like any other type of meat, which is necessary for many body systems, including the development of muscles.
Protein provides amino acids the body cannot obtain in any other way, which does everything from building cell walls, to regulating hormones. However, no matter how nutritious it may be, one should be cautious when eating it because, like other animals, it may also contain parasites and other infections that can be transmitted to humans but proper handling and thorough cooking can neutralize them.
Steps to take before venturing into snake farming business.
Like all others businesses, there are some factors which should be considered before going into snake farming business*Finding out the legality. Depending on the location, snake farming maybe legal or illegal. So you need to do a proper research to know if it is legal in the country you are.
The legality is usually not a country thing, it is a state by state basis. While it may be legal in one state, it could be illegal in another. In a city with barely any land, it will likely be illegal because of the danger. So ensure you find out before starting to avoid getting into trouble.
Get a good location for your snakes:
Getting a good location is also a paramount focus of snake farming business. Snakes need to be kept in a secluded location that will be easily accessible at any time. consider the safety of the people around. So it is best if it is set in a bit isolated area so as to avoid human fatality. While snakes only react when threatened, it can also react when accidentally stepped upon.
Getting the snakes for snake farming
Snakes can be purchased from local markets and local snake dealers. Alternatively, they can be bought from Badagry market or Benin Republic where there are enormous snake markets. One should try to get as many species of snakes as possible but particularly the lucrative species.
Feeding the snakes
The snakes need to be fed since they are now farm animals. Most snakes live on rodents, insects, eggs, birds, fish, lizards, frogs and other small mammals. However, the bigger ones like the anacondas and pythons feed on bigger animals like pigs and deer.
Depending on the specie, smaller species like the thread snakes can also be fed on eggs of small animals like ants and centipedes. Each type of snake eats different type of food. But almost all of them eats mice. They also feed on rodents, insects, eggs, birds, fish, lizards, frogs, toads. etc..
On average snakes usually eats about 4 mice at a time and need to be fed every 4 weeks. They prefer live meal.*Cleaning and maintenance: To ensure high productivity snakes need to be kept in optimum conditions, to prevent any health problems. Keeping it in a cage means finding time to clean it always.
Marketing your snakes
Marketing snake is not very difficult. There is a big market for it across the world. Going on the internet, finding forums where buyers patronize. Also by writing directly to pharmaceutical companies. Targeting fashion industries, restaurants and in any case of a special breed, the zoo wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Although, snake farming is a very lucrative business, it also has its disadvantages, to avoid accidents that is fatal. Ensuring that anti-venom is readily available on the farm. For every specie of snake reared, there should have an anti-venom for it. Making sure that wearing of safety boots and gloves when on the snake farm is made compulsory to minimize effect of bites, and not allowing children near the snake farm is a great precautions for snake farming.