Florida county under quarantine due to giant African land snails

Florida county under quarantine due to giant African land snails

WASHINGTON: Part of a county in the US state of Florida is under quarantine following the discovery of a giant African land snail that experts say can consume over 500 plants.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) confirmed the discovery of the snails in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County on June 23, reported Anadolu Agency.

“FDACS will treat properties with a metaldehyde-based molluscicide (snail bait). The US Environmental Protection Agency labels the treatment for residential use,” said the department on its website.

The department alerted residents that the snail is one of the most invasive pests and causes agricultural and environmental damage.

“The snails also pose a serious health risk to humans by carrying the parasite rat lungworm, known to cause meningitis. Giant African land snails are illegal to import or possess in the United States without a permit,” it said.

The snail has been eradicated twice in Florida.It was first detected in 1969 and was eradicated in 1975.”The most recent eradication of this pest was in 2021 from detection in 2011 in Miami-Dade County.

Prior to the recent detection, the last live snail in Florida was collected in Miami-Dade County in December of 2017,” it added.