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Sunday, February 25, 2024

An Invasive Creature Is Taking Over A Florida Community

An invasive species of snails is leaving its trail in the area of New Port Richey, Florida.

Officials have captured over 1,000 giant African land snails in the community since June 23, according to a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services press release.

The snails are known to grow up to eight inches long, feed on over 500 plant varieties and can hold the rat lungworm parasite that can cause meningitis in humans, according to officials.

They’re also illegal to own or import in the U.S. without a permit.

Florida officials announced they’ve enacted a quarantine in the New Port Richey area and are using snail bait to treat properties.

The snails, introduced to the continental U.S. in 1966, have been an issue for Florida officials in the past.

The state spent over $24 million on research and efforts to find over 168,000 of the snails, first seen in the Miami area in 2011, NewsWeek reported last year.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced the species’ “eradication” – or ensuring species aren’t “spotted in at least three years” – from the state in October 2021.

Florida previously spent seven years and over $1 million eradicating the snails after three of the creatures were “smuggled” into Miami in 1966, according to NewsWeek.

Fried, in a statement on Thursday, assured Floridians that the snails will be eradicated once again.

“We have done it twice before, and we will do it again – it is not a question of if, but when,” Fried said.

“Together, let’s locate, communicate, and eradicate, so Florida can again be [giant African land snail] free.”


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