A giant African snail was found in Brisbane and killed to prevent the invasive species from threatening natural Australian habitats.
The giant African snail was located in a container yard and immediately sparked fears of a resurgence of the species like one that occurred back in 1977. During that outbreak, 300 giant African snails were killed across an eight-month period after biodiversity officials launched a campaign to rid Australia of the menace.
Aussie officials say the giant African snail consumes more than 500 different Australian crops, several other species, and will even eat other giant African snails. In addition, the creatures can transmit fatal meningitis infections to humans if allowed to proliferate unchecked.
Paul Nixon of the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said in a statement that “giant African snails are one of the world’s largest and most damaging land snails,” adding that “Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements and responsive system has so far kept these pests out of Australia, and we want to keep it that way.”
According to US officials, the giant African snail is a worldwide invasive threatening species. Howard Wallace of the Florida Department of Agriculture recently said the creatures “are so bad in Nigeria, they actually flatten tires on cars on the road, the shells, they’re so tough.”
Wallace added that in Florida, giant African snails “[affect] not only agriculture, but our way of life, our health, and our safety.”
USF Biology Professor Marty adds that “the trouble is this animal has the capacity to do something other native species can’t,” and that “we often times really don’t know how big of a problem we might be dealing with because the signatures of what could be a big problem don’t really show up.”
Trappers in Florida killed more than 114,000 giant African snails in little more than a year.