FL has worst invasive reptile, amphibian problem

TALLAHASSEE, FL (AP) - A new report says Florida has the worst invasive reptile and amphibian problem in the world.

It was released Thursday, when state officials also confirmed the presence of another new invasive species of a different type - giant African land snails.

The amphibian and reptile study led by a University of Florida researcher was published in the journal Zootaxa.

It traces the introduction of 84% of 137 non-native species to the pet industry.

That includes 25% linked to one importer, Strictly Reptiles of Hollywood. Ray Van Nostrand Jr., one of the owners, would say only that he disagreed.

Giant land snails have been confirmed in Miami-Dade County.

The slow-moving sloth not only can consume at least 500 different types of plants, but "can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans".
They are a potential health hazard to humans and voracious eaters that can threaten crops and even buildings.

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