Snail slime: how is it extracted?

The cruelty-free Nuvò Cosmetic method for extracting snail slime

It is a well-known fact that snail slime is one of the most sought-after ingredients in the composition of cosmetic products, but in order to obtain it, it is necessary to take care of these tiny invertebrates. Here is a typical day in the life of a farmer, the method used to extract  slime from snails and what happens in the Nuvò Cosmetic farms.

Snail breeders

Deciding to undertake an activity such as snail farming requires passion for nature and patience.

Snail slime is a secretion produced under particular conditions. The quality of it depends on the methods of extraction or, rather, stimulation of the secretion.

The reasons why snails produce mucus come from feelings of pleasure, fear or because they are annoyed by something. They mainly need it to be able to move and run on any surface, even vertical ones. They feed on their own mucus, but cannot tolerate that of other snails, which is why they need large spaces.

These are all aspects that affect production, which must not be forced in any way, as one would sacrifice quality to quantity.

A snail breeder knows that it is necessary to get up early, as snails live at night, have a hibernation period and their outdoor environment must maintain the right humidity. This is why the area is sprayed so that they do not suffer from the heat and have places to shelter from the sun's rays.

It is not necessary to feed them as with other animals, as they feed on green leafy plants and are particularly fond of chard, cabbage and radicchio, juicy plants rich in minerals and vitamins.

It is therefore sufficient to raise them in a field rich in fruit and vegetables, as we do at  Nuvò Cosmetic.lumaca che si nutre di alimenti ricchi di vitamine

The nutrients go directly into the slime and enrich it with the exceptional properties that everyone is now familiar with and that benefit the beauty and rejuvenation of the skin.

Vegetation in breeding farms must be no higher than 25 cm, which is why breeders periodically take care of the plants in the enclosure.

Snails, being very small, need fences that not only delimit the boundaries that they must not cross, but also include a fence that defends them from predators such as moles, wild boars, foxes and other animals present in the countryside.

A snail farm also consists of hundreds of thousands of snails, which take six months to a year to produce a slime of the highest quality.

Read also: Snail slime:what is it used for?

The housing of snails in farms can be of two types.
The first is where the gastropods reproduce and the other is where they grow and feed.

It happens more often than not that there is no distinction between the two groups and they are still left to grow in a large field so that they are not affected by captivity in any way.

One of the dangers that are avoided for snails is poorly permeable soil, where puddles may form in which they risk drowning. Such breeding requires that the area be mainly clayey, so that it can drain even heavy rainfall.

How to extract snail slime

Extracting snail slime is a delicate operation, requiring the stimulation of these invertebrates so that they can produce a good quantity.

In the Nuvò farms, located in Italy in the hills near Lake Garda, great care is taken not to subject these small animals to stress or even lead them to death.

On the other hand, in intensive farms, where no attention is paid to the ecology of the environment, the molluscs are subjected to electric shocks, introduced into centrifuge machines, or put into large tanks where they are 'stirred', risking breaking the shell and thus death.

In these cases, the secretion is also caused by adding substances to which snails are intolerant such as vinegar or salt.

With these methods, the percentage of losses is very high and affects almost all of the invertebrates destined for slime production.

The preparation and extraction phase

Snails are subjected to extraction operations at intervals of no less than 30 days. This is the suggested time frame so as not to cause them stress.

The first operation is washing, which takes place in 2-3 batches in a tank, with a small number of snails, so as not to cause any damage to the shell. This phase lasts no longer than 3 minutes, as the snails may become agitated and begin to froth early or produce a quantity of slime beyond their physiological capacity.

The molluscs should only be stimulated with the hands or at most with cotton bud sticks, which do not damage ich the inside in any way. Simply touching them is enough for them to produce slime for about two minutes. Prolonging this phase any longer would mean subjecting them to excessive strain, causing dehydration and death after a few days.

After a final wash, they are returned to the breeding area and left to rest in preparation for the next round.

Read also:: Summer uses of snail slime

Filtering and sterilizing snail slime

Freshly collected snail slime in its raw state and in sterile containers is predominantly liquid, with a good foamy component and has a cloudy, yellowish to greenish colour.

The colour depends on the diet of the snails and the pigments that are also transferred to the mucus. After collection, the extract is taken to laboratories, where filtration and sterilisation take place.

The aim is to make it suitable for cosmetics and to eliminate the bacterial load, which is in any case very low even as soon as the secretion occurs, because it is a natural product.

bava di lumaca pura


The species considered to be most suitable for the production of excellent quality snail slime is Helix Aspersa Müller, which is characterised by its ability to adapt to the most diverse environments, its resilience and thus its survival time, which averages 4-5 years.

From the secretion of the snail, we at Nuvò develop excellent snail slime serums and creams for face, body and hair. Click here to discover them all!

Some curiosities about snails

Snails are hermaphroditic molluscs, meaning that each specimen has both male and female attributes so they fertilise each other.

Mating takes place after a curious courtship of turning and rubbing, following which the reproductive organs, which are located on the head, emerge and come into contact.

Gestation lasts only 30 days after which the eggs are laid, ranging from 40 to 80 per 'brood'. They are left in a sheltered place and hatch after another month.

From the shell, still soft and transparent, sprout the 'antennae' on which there are eyes.

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