Last month USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) seized a fist-sized giant African snail and three hundred of its offspring from a New York resident.
APHIS traced the snails back to Great Britain through a seller in Georgia, and seized about a twelve hundred of the critters, which coincidentally is the number of offspring one snail can produce in a year.
The snails are classified as an invasive species, which eat over 500 types of plants – including row crops – and can carry parasitic roundworms which cause meningitis in humans.
It is illegal to posses the snails in the US, but some people keep the snails as pets or eat them as a delicacy. They were first discovered in southern Florida in the 1960s and were eradicated after one million dollars and a decade’s worth of effort. In 2011, it was reintroduced, and according to APHIS efforts to get rid of it are still underway.