Cute And Fluffy

Best Animal Stories – Cats, Dogs

These Snails Are The Size Of A Human Head

These enormous snails are genuine, and they took over Florida a few years ago.

Meet the enormous African land snail, a Kenyan and Tanzanian species. They may grow to be over 8 inches long as adults, almost as big as a person’s face or palm.

These gentle herbivores have found their way into the humid tropics of China, India, and even the southern United States during the past 80 years thanks to the pet trade, and they’re now regarded one of the world’s most invasive “pests” because of their voracious appetite for crops and gardens.

Humans, of course, release their hungry pet snails into the wild, causing this. In locations like South Florida, where the enormous snails have no natural predators, populations have exploded out of control since the 1960s.

The snails were supposed to have been destroyed in 1975 following a $1 million eradication attempt, but they reappeared in full force in 2011.

The Florida Department of Agriculture issued public service ads urging citizens to report any snail sightings as soon as possible: The warnings stated, “This is not science fiction.” “This is the genuine deal.”

According to Daniel Benjamin, public information officer for the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industry, these snails devour roughly 500 different species of plants, therefore “virtually anything” was fair game for them in Miami.

“We’d uncover traces on the exterior of buildings where the snails had been nibbling the stucco when it was at its peak,” Benjamin recalled. “Stucco contains calcium, which snails use to maintain the health of their shells.”

The government is now sure that the problem has been resolved, since no recorded snail sightings have been reported in Florida since December 2017. That isn’t to say they haven’t been attentive in their preventative efforts.

Each snail has both male and female parts, which means they can mate whenever they run into another snail. One adult snail can lay around 1,200 eggs each year, which is how they come to overtake wild areas so quickly.

“Luckily, we were able to catch this early and were able to keep them out of the agricultural areas,” Christina Lawson, the department’s public information director, told The Dodo. “We have collected over 165,000 snails in the course of this [seven-year] program. For us to have them pop up again, it would most likely have be another reintroduction.”

While they only survive five or six years in captivity — and that’s with a good owner who can keep up with their continual food and care — they may live up to ten years in the wild, where they spend the most of their days burrowed in earth and only emerge at night.

In certain places of the globe, they’re still maintained as pets, although they’re outlawed in the United States to prevent additional runaway pets from harming natural ecosystems.

The snails surely have no idea of the frenzy they’ve caused, but one thing’s for certain: They’re so weird we can’t help but love them.

Keep slithering on, snails.