Florida Eliminates 8-Inch Snail for the Second Time in 10 Years
21:43 GMT 07.10.2021 (Updated: 13:25 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AP Photo / J Pat CarterA Giant African Land Snails is displayed Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 in Miami.
© AP Photo / J Pat Carter
The snails which were first spotted in Southern Florida in the 1960s, are said to be one of the most damaging snails in the world — known to carry a parasitic nematode that can cause bacterial meningitis in humans and can consume at least 500 types of plants according to the state's Department of Agriculture.
Florida announced on Wednesday that it has, for the second time, eradicated the 8-inch giant African land snail — an invasive species that can eat the stucco off your house and cause meningitis.
Florida's Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried reportedly made the declaration at a news conference at Miami's Douglas Park, where the eight-inch snail was first discovered in 2011.
There’s a high risk that these snails could threaten a $250 billion industry for crops that Florida farmers grow and invest in.
“It'll eat your plants, and it'll eat your house,” Trevor Smith, director of the division of plant industry and a Florida State Plant Regulatory official reportedly said at the news conference, according to the Sun Sentinel.
“Our trade partners do not want this pest. So it was absolutely imperative that we come in and eradicate this thing so it didn't impact our international trade,” Smith added.
In addition to Miami-Dade County, hundreds of the snails were reportedly found in Florida's Broward County, notably western Davie, in 2014.
Since then, the state has collected over 168,000 of the eight-inch long snails that can measure almost 5 inches in diameter, and can reproduce about 1,200 eggs a year.
Officials aren’t certain how the species arrived here before the 2011 discovery in Coral Gables, but a state investigation reportedly revealed that in 2010, dozens of giant African land snails were smuggled to Miami from Nigeria.
“I’m happy to say there’s still only one place on earth where the giant African land snail has been eradicated,” Smith said, before adding, “and now we’ve done it twice.”