Seems like every month brings a new horror story in the land of exotic pests. This one is fascinating and illustrates how a seemingly innocuous action like bringing some soil, seeds, plants or other critter home from vacation can have unforeseen and disastrous consequences.
Giant African land snails have been found for the second time in the Miami, Florida area. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Science, the last time this happened was in 1966 when a boy smuggled a few snails into Miami as pets. After the boy’s grandmother released the snails into the garden (bad Gramma!) they became established. More than ten years and over a million dollars of state funds later, they were finally eradicated.
Now the land snails are back in Miami/Dade County. Robin Rosetta, of Oregon State University invites anyone who is interested in reading more about this snail “the size of a hedgehog, that can eat more than 500 types of plants” and may carry a parasite with the ominous name of rat lungworm, to visit her site. And if you are ever tempted to bring a plant or insect or fish or snail from another country, DONT!