Giant Snails Trap People Into Quarantine


Just as COVID-19 lockdowns slowly start to lift, Florida residents face a new threat. African snails now replace the coronavirus scares. The crawling land species have people cooped up in the confined spaces of their homes for another round of lockdowns.

The African snails were eradicated in 2021 but they made their way back into the ecosystem. These wild creatures are massive and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) reported that the snails grow up to eight inches in length.

Although they can survive in different weather conditions, the snails thrive in humid areas with dense vegetation. Paul Walker, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist, said: “Miami-Dade County is more humid than Pasco County and, overall, is an average of about 3 degrees warmer than Pasco County and typically picks up 18 inches more precipitation than Pasco County over the year.”

Thus, the giant African land snail is more prominent in areas like nurseries, home landscapes or gardens in Pasco County.

The snails are hazardous to people as they carry parasites called rat lungworms, which can cause meningitis in humans and animals. Based on the FDACS reports, if people come into contact with the snail without protective gear or consume unwashed produce that the snail has stepped on, there is a possibility of infection.

State officials placed a segment of the Pasco County population under quarantine to minimize the transmission. In this lockdown, residents will not be able to move “plants, soil, debris, building materials, compost, or yard waste outside the designated zone.”

Snails are lucky they have no natural predators so eradicating them is not a simple process. Officials have started implementing snail baits, pesticides for the produce, and ornamental crops as bait for the African snails. Once they eat the fake plants, the pesticide erodes their digestive system and kills off the bad boys.

Pasco County residents can take off their masks and remain vigilant for African snails. It is hard to miss them with their enormous size.


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