Florida is the traditional home to “News of the Weird” so color us unsurprised by a bulletin from the state regarding giant African land snails. How giant? Try 8 inches. A quarantine has been issued in areas of South Florida for the pesky creature.
RELATED: Invasive Species in Florida
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the giant African land snail is one of the most damaging snails in the world. (Surely not because of its land speed.) It turns out these creatures can devour at least 500 different types of plants, which poses a threat to Florida’s crops.
The snails – put down any food you’re snacking on before reading on – pose a serious health risk to humans by carrying parasite rat lungworm, known to cause meningitis.
Giant African land snails are illegal to import or possess in the United States without a permit. (We don’t even know why someone who want one, but alas it happens.)
Anyway, about the threat: It turns out an infestation of the snails was discovered in the Fort Lauderdale area. The FDACS is using metaldehyde-based molluscicide (snail bait) to draw them out.
The giant African land snail has been eradicated twice in Florida – in 1969 and in 1975. The little buggers can grow to up to 8 inches as an adult.
There are currently three quarantine areas throughout Florida: in Broward, Lee and Pasco counties.
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