Meningitis-causing giant African land snail detected in Florida county

FILE -This Sept. 30, 2011 file photo shows a collection of giant African land snails in Miami....
FILE -This Sept. 30, 2011 file photo shows a collection of giant African land snails in Miami. The Giant African Snail eats buildings, destroys crops and can cause meningitis in humans. But some people still want to collect, and even eat, the slimy invaders. The Department of Agriculture is trying to stop them. Since June, USDA has seized more than 1,200 of the large snails, also known as Giant African Land Snails, all of them traced back to one person in Georgia who was illegally selling them. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)(AP)
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 11:31 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

An invasive giant snail that causes a health risk to humans has been detected in a Florida county.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed the detection of the giant African land snail in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County last week.

According to the FDACS, these snails "pose a serious health risk to humans by carrying the parasite rat lungworm, known to cause meningitis in humans."

They're also known to cause extensive damage to Florida's agriculture and have twice been eradicated. The last live snail in Florida was found in Miami-Dade County in December 2017.

As a result of the most recent detection, the FDACS has established a quarantine zone in Pasco County as state agricultural leaders work to eradicate them.

Agriculture officials said the giant African land snail can grow up to 8 inches long and reproduce rapidly, with one snail capable of laying more than 2,500 eggs per year.

The FDACS began its pesticide treatment to eradicate the snail Wednesday.

Scripps Only Content 2022