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Giant snails have found their way into Miami-Dade County, and they are multiplying like hotcakes. Not only is the species, known as Giant African Land Snails, big on procreation, they are also an invasive species that is causing real problems for the state. The giant snails, some of which can grow up to eight inches and can live for up to nine years eat at least 500 different plants in the state and also manage to eat through stucco and other building products to sneak into people’s homes.
Since September of 2011, more than 116,000 snails have found their way into Florida, which has begun to cause a multitude of problems in certain areas. So, for the last year, the snails have been targeted for removal and, according to CBC News, about 1,000 snails have been collected each week—numbers that seem pretty decent, until you consider that every mated snail produces around 1,200 eggs a year. As I noted earlier, they may move slowly, but they multiply quickly.
Ocala is reporting that last week a group of 15 scientists, many of them snail experts came together to discuss potential eradication plans, including using iron-phosphate granules or metaldehyde products and how to spread the bait. The last time snails infested the area was in the 1960s and it took nine years to eradicate them, which is a timeline the scientists, and I’m sure the citizens of Miami-Dade County, want to speed up this time around.
This isn’t the first time the state of Florida has dealt with a problematic invasive species this year. Earlier in 2013, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission put together a popular Python Challenge in order to combat the invasive Burmese Python living in the Florida Wetlands. That challenge didn’t yield high numbers of kills, and hopefully getting rid of the Giant African Land Snails will prove less of a problem.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Yevgen Sundikov