In the United States, giant African snails are wreaking havoc


Jnever have gastropods disturbed human life so much. As reportedLe Figaro, a species of giant snail native to the African continent has been reproducing at galloping speed in recent months and is now threatening crops and even human health. For now, the infestation remains localized in Pasco County, Florida, in the southeastern United States. A city even had to be quarantined, two days after the discovery of a first specimen.

Local quarantine should allow Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) officers to thoroughly treat the affected territory. For this, they are currently carrying out an eradication operation, using a pesticide. According to the local administration, this treatment could take several years to be fully effective.

And for good reason, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the snail race involved is not a race that can be described as “common”. The IUCN classifies it, in fact, among “one of the hundred most invasive species on the planet”. In adulthood, some specimens can reach 20 centimeters in length and 18 in diameter. At the same time, during reproduction, they lay up to 2,500 eggs over twelve months.

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Two precedents in the same state

In general, these snails attack plantations and other crops. The latter can feed on 500 different plants. But, when the need for calcium arises, they can also enter homes. These then attack plaster moldings or even paint.

Beyond the damage they can cause, these XXL version snails represent a real danger for humans. According to Christina Chitty, FDACS director of public information, some specimens may carry “a parasite called rat lungworm.” The latter can transmit meningitis, in a second time. It is therefore in the face of this last danger that the organization set up a quarantine in the city of New Port Richey on June 25. An announcement made not without humor by the agency.

In 1969, already, this same gastropod had invaded Florida. After investigation, the local authorities had noticed that there were three “zero specimens” at the origin of the invasion. A child of the state having the delicate attention to bring back three individuals from a trip to Hawaii. It had taken nearly 10 years for the authorities to control the situation. Finally, in 2011, it was in Miami-Dade County, the metropolis and economic capital of the state, that these snails were seen. Result, ten years of soil treatment for a total budget of…24 million dollars.

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