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Giant Snails Are Attacking Florida [PICS]

PBS

Florida has it tough with pythons and other invasive species, but giant snails? 

Giant snails as big as a shoe are spreading all over Florida and this isn’t even the first time this has happened.

In a decade-long effort that costs the state of Florida millions of dollars, Florida has been battling these giant African land snails since the 1960s. However, once again, they are showing their slimy tracks in numbers that might be worse than before.

As with most invasive species, what these giant snails can do to the Florida environment can be devastating. African giant snails are voracious eaters of up to as many as 500 different plants. What makes matters worse is they are also known to eat the stucco off houses.

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Daily News Dig

As if their destructive habits aren’t bad enough, if these giant snails eat infected rat feces, which they are known to do, they can carry a parasitic worm that can cause a rare form of meningitis in humans.

In an effort to kill the snails and stop their invasive spread, Florida officials are coating the ground, in areas where they believe these snails to live, with poisonous pellets.

Unfortunately these snails are fairly smart and have started climbing trees to avoid the pellets.

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Webecoist.momtastic.com

With this in mind, the Florida Department of Agriculture has two snail-sniffing Labradors that comb through sites after treatment has been done to specific areas to make sure those snails are gone. Unfortunately, this is a reactive approach.

According to a report about these African giant snails, as many as 5,000 of them were found around one home near Miami in 2014. The homeowners had sprinklers running regularly in their yard and well-kept landscaping. This created a mecca of snail activity.

As of now, Florida seems to be staying just on the edge of staying in control of this invasive species. There have been 158,000 giant snails removed from Florida in just the past four years. They can’t officially say these giant snails have been eradicated until after two years have passed with no giant snail activity.

If you live in Florida and spot one of these snails yourself, notify authorities immediately.

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Giant Snails Are Attacking Florida [PICS]