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Giant Snail Invasion

April 29, 2013

Giant East African land snails are wreaking havoc in South Florida.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Aliens invade Florida. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Giant East African land snails, up to eight inches long, have become a major pest in South Florida. According to entomologist Trevor Smith of the Florida Department of Agriculture, the snails eat virtually all kinds of plants, and also voraciously seek out calcium for their shells.

SMITH:
So if they can’t find limestone or maybe a cement block or something on the ground, they’ll just climb up on the wall of the house and start eating the stucco. So not only are they a plant pest, but they can actually eat your house.

HIRSHON:

It’s not clear how the snails got here, but in just nineteen months since the first sighting, their population has exploded. Thanks to a massive public information campaign, regular citizens have identified many infestations. Authorities then hand-collect the snails and leave baits laced with iron, which kills the stragglers. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

A giant African land snail. (Alexander R. Jenner/Wikipedia)