50 Giant African Land Snails Caught in Broward County
Yesterday we brought you news of poisonous caterpillars falling from trees. Well, it looks like the weird creatures invasion of Florida is nearly complete with the news that at least 50 giant African land snails were caught invading homes in the Davie area on Wednesday.
The problem with these mollusks -- aside from being giant -- are that they multiply quickly and carry meningitis. Also, they eat houses.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, in an attempt to quell a county-wide invasion, workers went to a home on 136th Avenue in western Davie and began raking the surrounding area, and other homes.
The giant African land snail issue has been a problem for Florida for some time. In early last year, a South Florida homeowner reported seeing them outside their home, and a 2013 Florida Department of Agriculture report says that a total of 130,000 of these suckers have been caught since then.
Officials say that the snails hail from Africa and may have been brought here in 2011 via a Santeria group who apparently use the snails in one of their ceremonies. The experts also fear that the snails may carry meningitis, which is where it can become hazardous to humans.
The snails are also known to devour hundreds of different kinds of plant species in Florida.
The snails also weirdly have a craving for stucco, which is how they end up going to homes to eat the walls. The usually leave big globs of slime residue and feces everywhere they crawl.
While the snails do procreate rather quickly -- females can produce close to 1,200 eggs a year -- officials have said they've been able to contain the invasive creatures for the most part.
Officials have been using dogs to sniff out and find the snails and reported to have killed over 130,000 of them sine April of 2013.
Other that that, officials say, the creatures are not aggressive towards people or pets. There's just a lot of them. And they can come in droves if they're not controlled.
More than anything, they're a nuisance and, like all other invasive species, they pose a problem to the eco system and an overall problem of inconvenience towards people.
Besides being insanely creepy, the giant African land snails have also been known to be a real problem once they've spread themselves in any given area.
For example, according to one report from Barbados, the snails have been known to blow out tires on the highway and turn into flying projectiles when lawnmowers accidentally mow them over and spit them out with their blades.
The Florida Department of Agriculture is asking anyone who thinks they see the snails around their property to report it to them at 1-888-397-1517.
You'll know them when you see them. They're giant. And they'll be eating your house.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Find out about upcoming events and special offers happening in South Florida.