FLORIDA COUNTY GETS QUARANTINE OVER GIANT AFRICAN LAND SNAIL DISCOVERY
Snails are slow, slow creatures. It’s hard to be afraid of them, beyond the ick factor. And they have ick factor. And the larger they are, the more icky they seem, and are. But beyond being afraid to touch one, I can’t really see how you can be afraid of them. Except for that deadly disease thing, maybe. Because that’s a concern when it comes to the giant African land snail, which have been discovered in New Port Richey, Pasco County, Florida. But the discovery of these not so little icky creatures has forced the county into quarantine. Why? Because this invasive species carries a parasite called rat lungworm.
GIANT AFRICAN LAND SNAIL CARRIES PARASITE, RAT LUNGWORM, AND THAT’S BAD NEWS
As you might guess, rat lungworm is bad news. Bad enough that if you get it, it can cause meningitis. And that’s really bad news. And even worse, the giant African land snail spread fast. It’s almost impossible to control their population size, as they can produce as many as 2,500 eggs per year. That means some drastic action is needed to get rid of them. Currently, the quarantine means residents can’t move the snails if they find one, or any plants or soil out of the area. Authorities want to contain the pest’s location so they can kill it with the pesticide metaldehyde over 3 years. It sounds like some job, as the giant African land snail can eat more than 500 different plant species, as well as the very paint and stucco off of houses.
GIANT AFRICAN LAND SNAILS GET HUGE, CAN EAT ANYTHING, AND REPRODUCE REALLY, REALLY FAST
And these guys get big, hence the name giant. They can get to be as large as 8 inches long, making an ick factor even Napoleon would find disturbing. If these things sound familiar to you, it’s because the giant African land snail was discovered in Miami-Dade County back in 2011. And down there, they only managed to get rid of them all last year in 2021, a full decade later. It seems that the illegal pet trade is responsible for these things in the wild, with owners either losing them or setting them free. Hopefully, these things don’t head anywhere else, no matter how slowly they move.