Giant African land snails have quarantined a Florida town

Giant rat-sized snails quarantined Florida city FDACS.GOV|Getty Images

Giant snails have infested a Florida town, causing it to be quarantined. (Credits: M Production)

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.

A giant African land snail is seen in this Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industry handout picture taken on September 9, 2011. South Florida is battling a growing infestation from one of the world's most destructive invasive species: the giant African land slug, which can grow to the size of rats and gnaw through plaster and plaster. REUTERS/Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industry/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS) THIS PICTURE WAS SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT WILL BE DISTRIBUTED TO CUSTOMERS EXACTLY AS RECEIVED FROM REUTERS AS A SERVICE. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

The species was first discovered in Florida in 2011 (Image: Reuters)

Mary Yong Cong, a scientist with the Florida Department of Agriculture, holds a giant African snail at her laboratory in Miami July 17, 2015. The invasive species was discovered in Florida in 2011 and has cost officials $10.8 million so far. Florida plant detectives are on the trail of a slippery enemy, an invasive African land slug that's cunning and potentially contagious and can grow to be the size of a tennis shoe. In the four years since giant African snails were discovered in Miami, they have slowly but surely spread to new areas in the southern suburbs and even north into neighboring County Broward. AFP PHOTO/KERRY SHERIDAN (Credit should read KERRY SHERIDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Each snail can live up to nine years and grow to 20cm in length, which is about the size of an adult hand (Image: AFP)

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.

FDACS.gov Science/10974573/giant snails

The New Port Richey area of ​​Pasco County, Florida has been quarantined for snail infestations. (Source: FDACS.gov)

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.

Huge african snail in male hands. Achatina fulica.

Imagine seeing some of these in your back garden. (Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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.

MORE : David Beckham once set a personal best by buffing away 32 snails in one sitting

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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

Justin Scacco

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