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Florida county quarantined after the discovery of the invasive giant african snail

The Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (FDACS) confirmed that the Giant African Snail inhabits the New Port Richey area of ​​Pasco County on June 23.. Go to the FDACS website.

Snails carry a parasite called rat paragonimiasis that can cause meningitis, which poses a health risk to humans, said Christina Chitti, FDACS spokesman. Told CNN.

It is difficult to control populations as they can lay up to 2,500 eggs per year.

According to Chitty, the population of Pasco County may be due to illegal pet trade. Giant African Snails are illegal to own as pets in the United States. However, some exotic pet owners still have invasive pests. If the owner throws them into the wild or accidentally loses them, they quickly establish a foothold, eat more than 500 varieties of plants, and even consume paint and stucco outside the house as a source of calcium. I can do it.

Chitty said the department is currently surveying the population and identifying the number of snails in Pasco County. Snails are native to East Africa and can grow up to 8 inches long.

The quarantine will take effect on June 25 and will prevent residents from entering and exiting the designated quarantine area with related items such as snails, plants and soil. Residents who may have discovered the giant african snail are at risk of meningitis and are advised to call the FDACS hotline and avoid touching snails without gloves.

According to Chitty, FDACS will spend three years eradicating the population of Pasco County, using pesticide metaldehyde to treat the soil.

"The goal is to eradicate snails," Chitti said. “This is a comprehensive and extensive process.”

This is not the first time Florida has dealt with a giant snail invasion. In 2011, apest population was discovered in Miami-Dade County. It was not until 2021 that the population was completely eradicated.

The Miami-Dade County snails had gray flesh, while the Pasco County snails had white flesh, Chitty said.