What Do You Think of When you hear Giant African Land Snails?
This morning, as I was avoiding going in to work, and reading news on Yahoo!, when I stumbled upon a very interesting article. This article is titled “Effort begun to eradicate giant African snails in Florida” and it is literally about snails that eat buildings.
The fact that my brain turned this:
Into the thing in the poorly made Canva clickbait above, well, that’s just who I be. And we don’t judge here. We are a judge free zone.
However, it is true that these guys do literally eat buildings. They apparently enjoy the delicious delicacy of plaster and stucco. They also, like a true multitasking invasive species, carry diseases.
The article specifically mentions something called the rat lungworm, which, I’m not going to think to hard about, because well, look what my brain did with a giant snail. I have a very literal mind. But the rat lungworm can cause meningitis in humans.
And guess whose to blame for this chunky shelled slug (yes I’m sure there’s a difference) being in our country and not where its native.
Apparently we imported them as pets. Yes, I can imagine being bag-checked at an airport. First, they at some point had to ask someone, “do you have anything to declare?”
“Oh just a giant land snail.” And then they all laugh.
And then later, they check the bags and there’s a slimy shelled creature. Is it apparent I’ve never been on a plane?
But the problem with these dudes isn’t just that they eat buildings, or carry diseases, but they enjoy 500 other things to eat, that we eat too. Including but not limited to (cause these are hungry boys) peanuts, beans, cucumbers, and melons.
They also share a characteristic with rabbits. I’m quite sure you know what I’m talking about but just in case: they make a lot of babies. The giant African land snail can lay up to 1200 eggs a year.
Now I absolutely have to bring up the most ridiculous fact in this entire article: they had to mention that Nikki Fried (cool name BTW) who is commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is a Democrat. I’m not entirely sure what the importance of that was, maybe besides the fact that she’s running for governor. Maybe her determination to eradicate the snails again will help her win. But we don’t Politic here either, my dudes.
Yes, I did just gloss over the whole again part. It was for dramatic effect. Did I do it right? Yes, they had this issue not once but twice before. The most recent campaign—see what I did there since shes’s running for gov—took ten years and they captured 170,000 snails in Miami-Dade County. “I think they missed one or two” would be funny to put here, if the county of the current invasion, Pasco County, wasn’t several counties away.
So far, this go ‘round, they’ve managed to capture 1,000 snails in the area they quarantined (I know the snails hate that word as much as we all do). The snails were initially spotted by a homeowner, and the properties involved (meaning having their buildings gnawed on by snails) are being treated with a molluscicide bait. Hole up imma google that. A pesticide against slugs. There’s one called Sluggo 😂.
The slugs are illegal to own without a permit. The fact that you can get a permit for a snail, and own this thing, despite its obvious problems… well that just sounds like Florida to me. Its also illegal to move them or dirt out of the quarantine area. Floridians are expected to call 888-397-1517 if they see one of the distinctive snails. These bad boys can grow up to 8 inches long and “have a distinctive whirled, brown mottled shell.”
They are also not the escargot type of snail. Thanks for that.
I had a vision one building-eating snails in my head all day, so, now you can too!
Thanks for reading. -C