Florida Quarantine Over Giant Snail Discovery

Quarantine measures have been taken in parts of the US state of Florida to prevent the African giant snail from spreading further across the state.

 

The animal can carry a parasite called rat lungworm, which can cause meningitis in humans and livestock. The animal also threatens crops with its appetite, according to the American newspaper USA Today.

The animal was spotted by a gardener in late June, the Florida State Department of Agriculture reported. Scientists call the animal “one of the most harmful snails in the world.” They feast on hundreds of types of economically important products, such as papaya, peanut, rubber, beans, peas, cucumbers and horticultural, cultivated and medicinal plants.

It’s not the first time the snail has popped up in Florida. In 1966, the giant African land snail was spotted in downtown Miami. In 1973, more than 18,000 snails were found and destroyed, along with thousands of eggs, and in 1975 the snail was declared extinct. In September 2011, the snail was found again in Miami, but was declared extinct again in September 2021, the US Department of Agriculture said.

African giant snails, including the shell, can be more than 25 centimetres long and weigh up to 700 grams.

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