More Than 125K Giant Snails Killed In Florida, Dogs Hunting Invasive Pests

Florida’s giant snails remain a disgusting and pervasive risk to local health and vegetation, but the invasive species has a new enemy — dogs that can sniff out the creatures.

So how did Florida wind up with a giant snails fiasco on their hands? A regional news blog theorizes that practitioners of Santeria (a voodoo Catholicism hybrid) may have imported the indestructible creatures for a specific sort of ritual back in 2011. Also, quite yuckily, the guy who brought them over had people drink their “juices,” and the people who actually did that instead of stabbing the man in his eyeballs got really sick because why would you do that?!

From there on, giant snails proliferated, and they aren’t just gross. Given their size and sturdy construction, they pose plenty of hazards to Florida drivers — and let’s face it, per capita a lot of those on the road aren’t spring chickens.

Not only that, the blog also reports they poop on everything, eat stucco, and slime stuff up. And did we mention giant snails are horrifying? Because they’re horrifying.

Also they can give you meningitis, which is serious business.

If you’re wondering how bad the problem of giant snails has gotten, the number killed since the initiative to nuke the horrors from orbit in April was announced should give you pause. Officials say more than 125,000 giant snails have been found and exterminated since they began hunting the beasts earlier this year.

Sniffer dogs have been instrumental in rooting out and killing giant snails in Florida, wildlife experts explain, as they locate the mollusks far more efficiently than humans.

While giant snails mate at an alarming rate (a single female can produce more than a thousand eggs a year), one canine can find hundreds in a week. The elimination program isn’t cheap, but it also stands to reason that despite running up costs in the millions, both parties can agree to spend wildly on finding and killing every last one of these monsters if that’s what it takes.