ERJ staff report (BC)
Orlando, Florida - South Florida is fighting a growing infestation of one of the world's most destructive invasive species, reports Barbara Liston of Reuters.
The culprit is the giant African land snail, which can grow as big as a rat, cause tire punctures when its shell is run over, and gnaw through stucco and plaster.
More than 1,000 of the molluscs are reported to be caught each week in Miami-Dade, and 117 000 in total since the first snail was spotted by a homeowner in September 2011, said Denise Feiber, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
More snails will emerge from underground hibernation at the start of the state's rainy season in seven weeks time, Feiber said.
The snails carry a parasitic rat lungworm that can cause illness in humans, including a form of meningitis, Feiber added, although no such cases have yet been identified in the United States.
This is an external link and should open in a new window. If the window does not appear, please check your pop-up blocking software. ERJ is not responsible for the content of external sites.