A species of giant snails the size of tennis shoes have invaded Florida and are terrorizing citizens by devouring stucco off of their houses, along with almost 500 different species of plants.
The species in question is the Giant African Snail, a potentially infectious animal that was discovered in Miami four (4) years ago, in 2011, after having been eradicated from the area back in the 1960s when they hung around for an entire decade.
But the creatures have proven to be slippery foes as the state has already spent $10.8 million on various programs attending to eradicate the Giant African Snails from Florida once again. That’s ten (10) times more money than they spent the first time around.
Despite this, everything they’ve tried so far has failed and state officials say that “there is still no end in sight”. In fact, the snails have even spread to new territories since 2011, given residents of the southern suburbs and the county of Broward cause for concern.
Mark Fagan, spokesman for Florida’s Department of Agriculture, gave a statement to Business Insider informing that “The fact is they’re a human and animal health threat, and they’re a threat to Florida’s agriculture. We can’t let the population continue”.
On top of threatening an abundance of plants species, the gastropods may also be carrying a parasitic worm known for causing a rare and dangerous form of meningitis that can hurt humans. They typically become carriers after consuming infected feces from rats.
The presence of the Giant African Snail in Miami has led farmers and agricultural experts to extensively investigate the exact amount of chemicals that they need to use in order to kill the invading species.
After first failing to kill the creatures using organic pesticides, state officials have now found that they can exterminate the snails using a molluscicide that contains metaldehyde. This substance is effective 95 percent (95%) to 100 percent (100%) of the time.
However, the Giant African Snails are not only slippery but also adaptable. Mary Yong Cong, field expert from Florida’s Department of Agriculture, gave a statement of her own to Business Insider revealing that the animals sometimes climb trees in order to “avoid the chemical pellets on the ground”.
She has spent a lot of time studying the snails as she also keeps a few of them in her office so that she can observe their behavior under different circumstances.
Yong Cong went on to add that these animals “are very curious”, and presumably tame, since the field expert felt comfortable holding one in her hand as she talked to the reporter.
The snails may also be hard to exterminate due to the ease with witch they reproduce. They’re hermaphrodites that can lay up to 1.200 eggs on a yearly basis. The eggs themselves are described as looking like mini chicken eggs no bigger than a Tic Tac.
State officials have now reached a point where they’re sending workers to carry them off of people’s properties. They are often helped by two (2) Labrador Retrievers tasked with sniffing out the snails.
The Giant African Snails can grow to be seven (7) inches, respectively eighteen (18) centimeters long. They can hibernate below ground for several months at a time, only resurfacing during the hurricane season as they seek out climates that are warm and wet.
Image Source: piperbasenji.blogspot.com