Giant snails are back in Florida: authorities are raising the alarm because they can transmit meningitis to humans

The giant African land snail can grow up to 20 centimeters long as an adult and lay up to 2,500 eggs per year.

The resurgence of this invasive snail species has forced Florida state officials to enact a quarantine period for residents of Pasco County, Florida. A blow for the authorities who thought they were done with this invasive, destructive animal.

Florida’s agriculture department has called the snail “one of the most damaging” mollusk subtypes in the world. It poses a threat to vegetation and infrastructure because of its appetite for at least 500 different plants as well as paint and stucco.

—CBS News (@CBSNews) June 30, 2022

Because these huge snails do not only represent a threat to agriculture: they are also capable of swallowing up the coating of houses, leaving a trail of excrement instead. They can also be a risk to humans and animals, being carriers of rat lungworm, a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans.

Experts are now working to get rid of the invading creatures.

According to the latest information reported by CBS, the giant African land snails have been found in the town of New Port Richeyin Pasco County, as confirmed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) on June 23.

These snails could be devastating to agriculture and natural areas in Florida, causing extensive damage to tropical and subtropical environments.

Already plagued by the invasion of giant snails for years to eradicate this invasive gastropod, the State of Florida did not hesitate to launch a strict protocol to eradicate the progression of this mollusc as quickly as possible.

Dogs have been trained to track them down, inspectors scoured 32 urban areas with several thousand properties. In total, they had captured 168,538 snails.

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