In Florida, for the second time, the invasion of African giant land snails (Lissachatina fulica) is being fought. This species reproduces very quickly and is dangerous in that it can destroy houses and infect people with meningitis.
The fast-breeding giant snails returned to Florida again after being wiped out in the 1960s. They carry parasites and destroy homes
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced at a press conference in Miami this week that the state has killed dangerous giant snails for the second time in history. Reported by the Daily Mail.
According to the USDA, this snail grows up to 20 centimeters in length and is one of the most harmful in the world – it can easily eat more than 500 different types of plants. Thus, they cause significant damage to the tropical and subtropical environment.
In addition, these giant land snails can feed on peanuts, beans, and are even capable of destroying paint and plaster on the walls of houses. In addition, they are carriers of the parasitic nematode that causes meningitis in humans.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the parasitic variant of this disease is less common than the viral or bacterial variant, but can affect the brain and nervous system, provoking headaches, neck stiffness, vomiting, and sometimes death.
The USDA also notes that these land snails were first seen in southern Florida in the 1960s, at which time it took nearly 10 years and a million dollars to eradicate them.
However, in 2011, for unknown reasons, they returned to Florida, affecting several new counties in the state. For ten years, with the help of specially trained sniffer dogs, it was possible to find 168 thousand individuals.
The main problem is that these snails reproduce rapidly, producing about 1200 eggs per year. In addition, Lissachatina fulica are hermaphrodites, meaning they contain both female and male reproductive organs. After one mating, each snail can produce between 100 and 500 eggs. Moreover, they can lay many eggs several more times without mating again, and so every 2-3 months.
Experts explain that it is difficult to destroy them once and for all, not only because of the speed of reproduction, but also because of the lack of natural predators. Each snail can live up to nine years and grow up to 20 centimeters in length, about the size of an adult’s hand from the tip of the finger to the crease under the palm.