Giant African Land Snails are invasive species that may threaten our state, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam warned Tuesday. He reminded everybody in Miami and other ports to be on look out for the destructive creatures after 67 of them were confiscated in Los Angeles this month.
The snails called GALS for short were first found in Florida in 2011. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, these snails are the most dangerous invasive species.
They grow 8 inches long and live up to 9 years. They have no natural predators and reproduce exponentially. They consume at least 500 different types of plants; they can also do structural damage to buildings. The snails eat stucco and plaster to get enough calcium to build their giant shells.
The snails also carry a parasite that can cause a certain type of meningitis in humans and animals, officials reminded. Officials found and confiscated 67 of them at Los Angeles International Airport. Those snails were brought in from Nigeria.
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