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Giant African snails in Miami pose health hazard to residents

giantsnail021012_optBY ANGELA DAIDONE
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Quick, take cover! Giant snails have attacked Miami!

Nope, it's not the plot of a sci-fi movie but a real-life event that is causing some big problems for folks in the Florida metropolis, according to a report on NPR.

Giant African Land Snails, a non-native, destructive species that can grow up to 10-inches long, has invaded the southwest section of Miami, eating the stucco off houses and carrying a potential health hazard.

The slimy pests harbor the microscopic rat-lung worm, which can transmit meningitis to humans. They are also attracted to food left outdoors and garbage bins, the report said.

The giant snails are restricted in the United States, but people have smuggled them into the country to keep as pets.

According to the head of plant industry for Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, there was an introduction of the creature in 1965, traced to a young boy who held a few of them in his pocket from a trip to Hawaii. Ten years and 70,000 snails later, the final bill to eradicate the creatures was in the neighborhood of a million dollars.

 

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