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Nature & Environment

Florida invaded by giant African land snails

By T.K. Randall
July 31, 2015 · Comment icon 17 comments

The giant African land snail is the largest snail in the world. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Grzegorz Polak
Authorities in Florida have been attempting to curb the recent influx of the world's largest gastropod.
With shells measuring up to 18cm in length this huge species of snail was first discovered in the state four years ago when a specimen turned up in Miami. Ever since then however their population has been spiraling out of control and authorities have struggled to keep them in check.

As an invasive species the snails have been creating havoc, not only due to their penchant for eating through numerous types of local plant life but for their tendency to carry infectious diseases.

"The fact is they're a human and animal health threat and they're a threat to Florida's agriculture," said state agriculture department spokesman Mark Fagan. "We can't let the population continue."
The snails have also proven particular resilient to extermination with organic pesticides failing to work and attempts to use metaldehyde pellets thwarted by their tendency to climb up trees.

The problem has become so bad that local officials have even set up a special 'snail hotline' so that workers can be quickly dispatched to a location when one of the creatures is sighted.

In total more than 158,000 of the snails have been removed over the last four years.

Source: Discovery News | Comments (17)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by seeder 9 years ago
Ive seen African shops in London with baskets of the things for sale... well I guess if the garden snail is good enough for the French....
Comment icon #9 Posted by pallidin 9 years ago
I wonder if we can eat them.
Comment icon #10 Posted by pallidin 9 years ago
Well, I suppose the public-released pythons will be happy about a new food source.
Comment icon #11 Posted by seeder 9 years ago
I wonder if we can eat them. Yes of course, many Africans eat them You can eat regular garden snails too, do watch 4 mins
Comment icon #12 Posted by Aardvark-DK 9 years ago
Mmm...bit of garlic butter..then it's a main course !
Comment icon #13 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 9 years ago
Have they considered training tortoises to hunt them ? That would be the slowest chase in history.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Infernal Gnu 9 years ago
Evangelist Pat Robertson can pray this plague of snails away, he prayed a hurricane away once.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
These were a problem in Florida some 30+ years ago and were eradicated, but since then someone has likely smuggled some in as pets and some escaped. They are (or were) present in Hawaii I believe, it's quite possible someone brought one back. Supposedly they will even eat the paint off buildings. The article called them "the world's biggest gastropod" but they are not even close when you consider marine snails. Even the common conch is larger and the Florida Horse Conch is gigantic for a snail (I found a long dead shell of a Horse Conch in the mud that was over 15" long.)
Comment icon #16 Posted by KariW 9 years ago
All this talk about escargot, has made me hungry for my favorite snail : Abalone. When I lived in California, I use to go diving for abs not far from where the following video was taken (Fort Bragg). It was illegal to take abs with a tank, and depending on the species they had to be a certain size. (I think 7 inches min. for reds with a daily limit of 4- now currently limited to 3) Ab seasons, in which they could be harvested were fairly short too. My brotherinlaw could take 4 abs on 1 breath. He would stick them inside his wet suit when his hands got full. It would usually take me 2 dives jus... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by qxcontinuum 9 years ago
nice meal ...

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