Miami Battles Giant Snail Invasion

'I had never seen anything like it,' resident says

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 16, 2011 4:03 PM CDT | Updated Sep 16, 2011 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Miami authorities are struggling to wipe out an invasion of Giant African Snails that are munching on plants and proliferating wildly, the Miami Herald reports. Last week, a pair of sisters tipped off officials to the slimy creatures, which can grow up to 10 inches long by 4 inches wide, and lay roughly 1,200 eggs a year. “I had never seen anything like it,” says one, who tired of seeing the pests. “It was quite incredible.”

Originating in East Africa, the snails are highly destructive and usually illegal in the US. The current infestation may be related to a smuggling case last year in which a Florida man was accused of flying in the snails for an African religious ritual. For now, state employees are going house-by-house and bagging the mollusks by gloved hand. So far they've found about 1,000 of them, which will be placed in freezers for a "humane death," one official says.

Giant African snails are proliferating in Miami, laying 1,200 eggs a year and munching on about 500 varieties of plants.
Giant African snails are proliferating in Miami, laying 1,200 eggs a year and munching on about 500 varieties of plants.   (Getty Images)
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