Friday, September 16, 2011

Giant snails have Florida on search-and-destroy mission

Image: Giant African land snail

An invasion of giant snails sounds like a good storyline for a B-Horror movie, but unfortunately in this case it’s reality: 

“Florida is used to strange creatures, but the discovery of a non-native animal — a giant snail from East Africa — has got local officials really worried.

A search-and-destroy advisory that went out included this bit of history: the last time the giant snails were found in Florida (back in 1966) they had multiplied from three to 18,000 in seven years and cost $1 million to eradicate.

The new population of giant African land snails was found in Miami-Dade County, and several dozen technicians were quickly dispatched to search them out. About 1,000 were found Thursday within a one-square-mile radius, the Miami Herald reported. Several hundred were found in one backyard in Coral Gables. How they got there was not immediately known. Why worry? Besides their intimidating size — up to 8 inches long and 4 inches in diameter — "they consume at least 500 different types of plants, can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco, and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans," the Florida Department of Agriculture said in a statement Thursday.”  source

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