Lifestyle & Belief

African snails invade Florida... again


A Giant African land snail is seen as the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announces it has positively identified a population of the invasive species.


Joe Raedle

Just when you thought Florida was safe after the bizarre sinkhole scare, a new scourge has hit the Sunshine State.

Giant African Land Snails have once again descended on Florida.

These are not your average snails. They are the size of small mammals and can eat through just about any material, save for metals.

They are also menacing hundreds of plant species in the south Florida region.

Their shells are so sharp they can apparently puncture tires, and just to make matters worse, the mollusks carry a disease menacingly called the rat lungworm that is a type of meningitis.

They also put bunnies to shame in their rapid reproduction.

So basically, don't get near these slimy, slow-moving, spawns of hell.

The infestation is linked to Miami-Dade County alone and were likely spread by travelers to the US from Africa.

"More than 1,000 of the mollusks are being caught each week in Miami-Dade and 117,000 in total since the first snail was spotted by a homeowner in September 2011," said Denise Feiber, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Feiber said that she understands why people like to bring the snails back home or keep them as pets.

"They're huge, they move around, they look like they're looking at you ... communicating with you, and people enjoy them for that," Feiber said.