Florida. A land of oranges, swamps, gators, old people, old gators, beaches, water, sand, dirt, gators, grass, some moss, those pointy seed things that get in your shoes, fish, Amish folks, gators, lizards and.. giant snails?
It turns out Giant African Land Snails set sail recently and landed ashore in South Florida. Now you might be thinking “I could be watchin’ videos of a cat ridin’ on top of a dog right now instead’a readin’ this crap.” But you might also be thinking “What’s the big deal, they’re just snails.” But you should know this is a very, VERY big deal! .. Ok?! .. Buddy?! Allow me to enumerate the ways in which these vile creatures are upsetting our Florida ecosystem:
1. They like to eat. A lot. Unfortunately they take a fine liking to Florida crops the most, as well as the very walls of your home! Really, they can digest stucco and plaster from walls and roofs just as easily as anything else they eat. Over 500 species of Florida plantlife (almost every kind of local flora they encounter) are also on the menu.
2. They can make you sick, bro. These snails carry strands of the salmonella bacteria along with meningitis in their mucus, making bare contact with them dangerous.
3. They’re gross. I mean look at them! Just look at ’em! S’gross. Blegh.
4. They have no natural Florida predators. Nothing in Florida wants to take a bite out of these guys, apparently. Given the shell and point 2 above, can you really blame them? This will cause them to spread unabated without human intervention.
5. One female can lay up to 1,200 eggs a year. This is gonna be a long war if they’re popping out that many slimy soldiers every year, unless they’re dealt with before they spread further north and get more of a foothold.. or uh.. slime-hold… whatever.
While notable strides have been made since 2013, the snails are still at large in the Southern and Central Florida area. So if you see a snail or two hanging around outside your house, wearing leather jackets while putting things in your mailbox and smoking cigarettes, inform your local wildlife pest control group to bag ’em and ship ’em off to snail-jail (they actually do just put the specimens in tanks, letting them live out there lives in relative seclusion).