Florida faces a massive invasion of giant snails

The giant African snail is invading a region of Florida and worrying the authorities.

The giant African snail, a species that can be dangerous to humans, is invading a region of Florida and worrying the authorities, according to information from Le Parisien. This mollusc can measure up to 20 centimeters. Faced with this scourge, the city of New Port Richey has been placed under quarantine with a ban on leaving any plant in the town.

This snail reproduces quickly. Coming from Africa, this species of land snail can pose some short-term problems, since it is one of the most invasive in the world.

Since the first specimens were identified in early June, local authorities have captured 1,434 snails on around 30 properties in Pasco County, according to information from Smithsonian Magazine.

The giant Achatina African land snail (Lissachatina fulica) has a voracious appetite, eating over 500 types of plants and sometimes even plaster and stucco. These snails can produce 2,000 eggs a year and grow to the size of a human fist.

The snail also poses a risk to human health. They may carry rat lungworm. This parasite, detected among shellfish caught in Pasco County, enters the lungs of rats when they eat a snail, and then spreads through their cough. If a human ingests one of these worms, it travels to the brain, where it can cause meningitis.

The properties where the snails were found will be treated with metaldehyde, a product that kills slugs and snails, over the next 18 months and the area will be monitored for two years after the last snail is found.

The snails were first discovered in the state in the 1960s, and it took a million dollars and about seven years to get rid of them. In 2010, they were reintroduced and eradicated after a decade and $23 million budget. It is illegal to possess or import these animals into the United States without a permit.

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