New giant snail population discovered in Florida

Florida’s Giant African Land Snail eradication effort, which has already eradicated more than 140,000 snails, is still top priority for the state due to the discovery of a new population of giant snails in another part of Florida.

Earlier this month, representatives from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that a large population of giant snails had been found on a residential property in Davis, Florida. The site is located in western Broward County, located directly north of Dade County, where the eradication effort has been focused.

The eradication program eliminated more than 140,000 snails from Miami-Dade County and took strict precautions to ensure the snail did not escape the county’s borders. The discovery of the new population in a contiguous county, in addition to a new infestation of about 2,000 snails in Miami, reinforces the need to keep the eradication program moving and continue educating the public.

FDACS staff are depending on the public’s help to curtail and eradicate the remaining snail populations before they grow too large.

The giant African land snail consumes at least 500 different types of plants and can endanger human health. The snails can eat the larvae of Angiostrongylus cantonensis, a parasitic worm of rats. The larvae can infect a person who eats the snail, causing a rare type of meningitis in some people. Giant African land snails also reproduce rapidly, laying as many as 100 to 400 eggs in a single session. Snails contain both male and female reproductive organs and can lay up to 1,200 eggs per year.

If you live in Florida and see one of these snails (they’re much larger than native snails), do not pick it up or touch it, and call 888-397-1517.

For more information:

Giant Snail Threat Spreading in South Florida, Growing Produce

Media Advisory, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

 

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