The Bad news: Giant African land snails have been spotted in Pasco County, Florida.
The good news: They have been found in Florida before and have been successfully eradicated.
It won’t be easy. The eradication of previous outbreaks took years and required lots of effort but the stakes are high.
The snails are huge, the size of a large fist, and they are a true health hazard. Their slime can contain a meningitis inducing agent. It can reach humans and dogs through contact or if produce they eat has been slimed and not well washed. They are prodigious consumers of produce, too.
So far one has been discovered and a quarantine is in place in the area. A dog trained to sniff them out and then sit when one is located is also on the job.
Florida, like Australia, is besieged by invasive species. These are non-native creatures, including plants, reptiles, fish and mammals that are negligently introduced into a new region. They then proceed to wreak havoc on native species,
Here are some of the most significant invasive species in Florida today:r
- Walking Catfish. These fish can live out of water for considerable periods and are a threat to native fish and wildlife
- Tegu – a non-native lizard considered a threat to shore birds because it eats their eggs.
- The Burmese Python. Florida is currently waging war on these snakes.
- Cain toads – Extremely poisonous and a mortal threat to dogs and cats
- Rhesus monkeys – Disease carrying, but they avoid humans
- Boar. Wild pigs are large intelligent predators and destructive to native wildlife.
- Snakehead – Another aggressive fish that eats and outcompetes local fish.
- Feral cats. World wide feral cats are a tremendous nuisance. Fierce predators they are extremely hard on flightless birds and many other ground dwelling creatures.