Giant snail invasion alert in the United States. Florida is currently under an invasion of its dangerous specimens from East Africa. A species that multiplies rapidly and poses a potential threat to crops and humans. The gastropods were discovered in late June in Pasco County, north of Tampa, by a gardener. Two days later, part of the town of New Port Richey was quarantined, reports Le Figaro.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this breed of snail is “one of the 100 most invasive species on the planet”. In order to fight against its proliferation, a chemical eradication operation using metaldehyde pesticide has been set up to treat the soil. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), it should take three years to achieve a fully effective result.
They can transmit meningitis
These giant snails can measure up to 20 cm in length and 18 cm in diameter when fully grown. According to the IUCN, they represent a real danger for agricultural crops because they feed on at least 500 different types of plants. In addition, they reproduce extremely quickly and can lay 2,500 eggs per year. They can also attack stucco and house paint when they can no longer find calcium in the soil for their shell.
This species is also dangerous to human health, according to specialists. Snails carry “a parasite called rat lungworm” which can transmit meningitis to humans, explains Christina Chitty, director of public information for the FDACS, in the columns of CNN. That’s why the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services prohibits touching them without gloves.