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Miami's next dangerous threat: Giant African Land Snails

Giant snail Just when we've thought we'd seen it all, comes this alarming warning from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services today: A dangerous snail of gigantic proportions is gradually invading Miami Dade County, threatening to consume plants and plaster and infect humans along its way.

The creature, known as the Giant African Land Snail (GALS!), is "one of the most damaging snails in the world," the department says. The slow-moving sloth not only can consume at least 500 different types of plants, but "can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans.'' It was last reported in Florida in 1966.

“Florida faces constant challenges from invasive pests and diseases that arrive through cargo, travelers’ luggage, air currents, and plant and animal agricultural products,” said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. “Enlisting the help of the public in the early detection of these pests and diseases is critical to containing and ultimately eradicating them in our state.”

The large snail, originally from East Africa, can grow up to eight inches in length and more than four inches in diameter. "When full grown, the snail’s brownish shell consists of seven to nine whorls (spirals) that cover at least half the length of its long and greatly swollen body whorl,'' the department said.

What's worse, the snails can live as long as nine years and are abundantly prolific. Each snail contains both female and male reproductive organs and every mated adult lays about 1,200 eggs each year. The pest has been found in the Hawaiian Islands, the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe and has been recently detected in Saint Lucia and Barbados.

The last reported outbreak took 10 years to eradicate and cost more than $1 million, state officials said. The snails are illegal to import into the United States. If you've seen one of these giant snails, call DACS at  888-397-1517 to make arrangements to have the snail collected. 

Comments

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NET4CHRIST

COME TO ME AND I WILL GIVE U REST ;)

Päivi Pesu Silander

Tässäpä oiva tuliainen. Kalpenis Ahtialan kotilot!

This is a field

Why can't we eat these? - looks like a great escargot to me (yes I do mean fully cooked).

Harland

Anyone else have a problem with this invasive species being identified as "African"? I know racism is a big problem in America but identifying Blacks with snails is carrying it a bit too far.

adriana

No problem with the name. It is called "African" because IT IS a native of Africa. Relax!

slipperysoap

Send them all back, the snails to.

Dur

Harland, you are an idiot.

lol

I agree with slipperysoap lol

Julio Canstada

That snails must be from Europe and came here via Mayflower. Send them back along all rednecks too!

NET4CHRIST

WALK WITH ME I WILL TAKE CARE OF U :)

Alan Samson

A very similar snail has suddenly appeared for the first time in Deolali District Nasik Maharashtra India. We have been in this place for the last 47 years and never seen a similar snail before.

Land Texas

Each snail comprises both feminine and male reproductive body components and every mated mature individual lays about 1,200 for demonstration each year. The pest has been discovered in the Hawaiian Islands,

ShaunaRISE

REPENT, thats what he meant.

Terwayne

They are indeed edible. The link below is to a video on how to prepare them.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2009/jul/03/african-land-snails-video

Jonathan Wojcik

As a studier of invertebrates all my life I can only roll my eyes at some of this fearmongering. It is absolutely true that giant land snails are a serious threat to native vegetation, but the threat to human health is grossly, GROSSLY exaggerated. They have been known to carry a form of meningitis, but it causes almost no symptoms in the majority of infected humans and passes harmlessly. Several articles also openly admit that the disease has not been found in a single snail discovered, but this bit of information is glossed over by still other articles.

They have also been accused of carrying parasites, but as a matter of fact, 100% of animals on Earth have at least some sort of unique parasitic worm. No exceptions. There is nothing special or particularly alarming about snail parasites, and to contract them you have to eat one...undercooked. Who's going to do that anyway?

Mainstream media is just so bored that they really want a killer giant monster story to write about.

mauricio aquino

there is no reason to panic, read: www.smtpilimitado.com/kennel/AliancapelaVidaIngles.pdf

Mauricio Aquino
Médico Veterinário / Brasil
CRMV-AL 0234
celular: (82) 9993-6386
veterinario@mauricioaquino.com
skype => veterinariomauricio
MSN => mauricio_aquino@hotmail.com

TONY

ARE THIS AFRICAN SNAILS EDIBLES ?? LIKE SCARGOTS ??????

TONY

LETS EAT " SCARGOTS "

carlito

I think I see one! Oh no wait, that's just my 320 lb 5 ft tall neighbor! Could'a fooled anybody!!! Lol!

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