An Invasive Creature Is Taking Over A Florida Community

The species, the giant African land snail, is known to grow as long as 8 inches.

An invasive species of snails is leaving its trail in the area of New Port Richey, Florida.

Officials have captured over 1,000 giant African land snails in the community since June 23, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services officials said in a press conference.

The snails are known to grow as long as 8 inches, feed on over 500 plant varieties and can carry the rat lungworm parasite that can cause meningitis in humans, officials said in an accompanying press release.

They’re also illegal to own or import in the U.S. without a permit.

Florida officials announced they’ve enacted a quarantine in the New Port Richey area and are using snail bait to treat properties.

The snails, introduced to the continental U.S. in 1966, have been an issue for Florida officials in the past.

Florida spent seven years and over $1 million eradicating the snails after three of the creatures were “smuggled” into Miami in 1966, according to Newsweek.

They appeared in the Miami area again in 2011, leading the state to spend over $24 million on research and efforts to find over 168,000 of the snails, Newsweek reported last year.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced the species’ second eradication — declared after the animal wasn’t seen in at least three years — from the state in October 2021.

Fried, in a statement on Thursday, assured Floridians that the snails will be eradicated once again.

“We have done it twice before, and we will do it again — it is not a question of if, but when,” Fried said.

“Together, let’s locate, communicate, and eradicate, so Florida can again be [giant African land snail] free.”

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