The slug has been identified as native to Africa and carries a rat lungworm parasite that can cause meningitis in humans.
On June 23, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) confirmed the discovery of the African giant snail in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County.
The very next day, the entire area was quarantined. However, unlike the Covid-19 blockade, residents here are only prohibited from moving plants, soil, yard waste, debris, compost and construction materials outside of designated areas.
“The giant African land snail is one of the most damaging snail species in the world, consuming at least 500 different plants,” FDACS said.
The African land snail causes widespread damage, especially in tropical and subtropical environments. A local agricultural industry can be completely destroyed. This species was first discovered in Florida in 2011 and has so far cost the regional budget about 10.8 million USD (~ 252 billion VND) to deal with the consequences.
These snails reproduce rapidly, producing about 1,200 eggs in a year. They are also difficult to exterminate because there are no natural predators. Each snail can live up to nine years and grow to a length of 20 centimeters, roughly the size of an adult hand.
At the end of June, the US Department of Agriculture began developing a drug called metaldehyde to control this harmful African land snail. Landlords inside the blockaded area will be notified 24 hours in advance of the planned pesticide spraying.
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