The Giant African Land Snails were discovered in 2011 in Miami, and since then they have been spreading fast, while eluding all attempts of the state’s eradication efforts.
This efforts involve a 10$ million program dedicated to eradicating this huge species of snails, that are considered a threat to both human and animal health.
The Huge snails pose significant danger to human health because they can carry a parasitic worm that can cause meningitis. However, contamination usually occurs when people eat insufficiently cooked snails.
The Giant African Snail is the size of a tennis shoe, and can grow as long as 18 cm. They are a threat for agriculture because they can consume as many as 500 different plants. The giant snail also feeds on the stucco off houses.
The first failed attempt of the state to eradicate the Giant Snails included organic pesticides. They soon realized that it was pointless, and they switched to the much more efficient molluscicide containing metaldehyde. This usually kills the tennis-shoe-sized snails 95 to 100 percent of the time.
But the Giant African Snail managed to escaped again by climbing on trees in order to avoid the chemical pesticides in the ground.
Also the rate of reproduction displayed by this species is very high due to their ability to produce up to 1200 eggs a year.
Experts say that in the past 4 years they managed to remove 158.000 of the huge snails. But they also have the habit of disappearing for months, hibernating, and striking again when they are rested.
The officials can’t declare this destructive species eradicated until two years pass since the last tennis-shoe-sized Snail is seen alive. And it might be a while until they will be able to do so, because after their months of hibernation they usually resurface in the great numbers, especially if they get the right humidity.
The latest attempt of the authorities to get rid of the destructive giant snails consist of launching a Snail Spotting Hot Line, where people can call to alert the authorities to come help clear them eliminate the pest.
This war is far from being over, and neither the officials nor the snails seem to contemplate surrendering. The latest giant snail invasion started in 2011 and the critters continue to spread in 2015, invading new territory in the southern suburbs and the neighboring county of Broward, while cleverly eluding the state’s attempts to trap them.
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