Giant snails that can grow to the size of a rat have been reported in a Florida town.
The invasive species, native to Africa, carries the parasite rat lungworm, known to cause meningitis in humans.
On June 23, 2022, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) confirmed the presence of the African giant land snail in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County. The next day, the area was quarantined.
Unlike a Covid-19 quarantine, this means residents are prohibited from moving plants, soil, garden waste, rubble, compost and building materials outside of the designated zone.
“The giant African land snail is one of the most noxious snails in the world, consuming at least 500 different species of plants,” FDACS said.
The snails could be devastating to local agriculture and natural areas as they cause severe damage to tropical and subtropical environments.
The species was first spotted in Florida in 2011 and has cost officials $10.8 million so far.
These snails reproduce rapidly, laying about 1,200 eggs in a year. They are also difficult to eradicate as they have no natural predators.
Each snail can live up to nine years and grow to a length of 20 cm, which is about the size of an adult hand.
The US Department of Agriculture last week began treatment to eradicate this pest with a pesticide called metaldehyde, which is known to control snails and snails.
Property owners within the treatment area will be notified in person or by notice at least 24 hours prior to the planned pesticide treatment.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/04/giant-african-land-snails-put-florida-town-in-quarantine-16936894/ Giant African land snails have quarantined a Florida town