It appears giant African land snails have invaded Davie, FL in Broward County, and they’re more than gross—they can be deadly!
Scientists consider the giant African land snail (GALS) to be one of the most damaging snails in the world because it is known to eat at least 500 different types of plants. However, this isn’t what has Davie residents worried; it’s what is in their slime! Evidently, this slug’s slime can carry parasites that can give humans an incurable type of meningitis. The risk of this happening is low, but nonetheless, it is still a possibility.
Officials said they think the snails came into the country and South Florida by someone who brought them from Africa. These individuals practice a Santeria-type religion, which cook up these slimy slugs into a soup.
In addition to destroying foliage, the snails cause structural damage to buildings by devouring plaster and stucco in order to get the calcium they need to support shell growth.They are just BAD NEWS!
Originally from East Africa, the GALS, or Achatina fulica, is one of the largest terrestial snails in the world, growing up to 8 inches in length! They can live as long as 9 years. GALS are difficult to get rid of because they have no natural predator and they are fast reproducers!
If you ever see one of these mammoth mollusks, be sure to report it immediately and don’t TOUCH it! Please contact the Division of Plant Industry (DPI) helpline at 1-888-397-1517.
Photography courtesy of Andrew Derksen, Florida Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey Program
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