Monday, September 19, 2011

Invasion of the giant snail in Florida

Giant snail from East Africa eats 500 types of plants — and can cause meningitis in humans

Earlier we wrote about the giant crocodile from the Philippines and now there are giant snails invading Miami-Dade County Florida.

A search-and-destroy advisory that went out included this bit of history: the last time the giant snails were found in Florida (back in 1966) they had multiplied from three to 18,000 in seven years and cost $1million to eradicate.
About 1,000 were found Thursday within a one-square-mile radius, several hundred in one backyard in Coral Gables.

How they got there was not immediately known.
The snails were sent to freezers to be frozen to death.

 Besides their intimidating size — up to 8 inches long and 4 inches in diameter — "they consume at least 500 different types of plants, can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco, and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans.

They  breed like crazy. Each snail living  as long as nine years and contains both female and male reproductive organs. After a single mating session, each snail can produce 100 to 400 eggs. In a typical year, every mated adult lays about 1,200 eggs.

The 1966 incident was tied to a boy who brought three into Miami as pets. His grandmother later released them into her garden, starting a plague that took 10 years to eradicate.

In the new outbreak, officials are looking into a possible connection to a criminal investigation, the Miami Herald reported. A man is accused of smuggling in the snails for a religious practice in which followers would drink the snails' juices for a healing ritual. Several people became violently ill.

The man allegedly was helped by a woman said to have hid the snails under her dresses on flights to Miami.

It is illegal to import the snails into the United States. Smugglers can face up to a $1,000 fine per charge.

See more great posts > The Laughing Pet

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...