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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.”

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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. (Read more snail stories.)

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