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Billions of GALS Won’t be Coming to the Party in Miami due to Eradication Efforts

October 1, 2012

Teams from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have captured and humanely killed more than 83,000 giant African land snails since discovering them in Miami-Dade County in September 2011. That makes quite a pile of snails.

Calculating the snails’ ability to reproduce makes the captures even more impressive.  Every one of the snails plucked from residential properties had the capacity to live for nine years and lay up to 1,200 eggs per year. (They’re hermaphroditic. All adults are capable of producing eggs.)

So …

85,000 snails x 1,200 eggs per year x 9 years = 918,000,000 GALS that will not be showing up in Miami.

That’s considering just one generation. Had the snails been able to reproduce, their numbers would have increased exponentially. That is called compounding. Albert Einstein called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world. The principle of compounding is very familiar to anyone who, for example, might have raised rabbits or had them invade a garden.

Destroying 83,000 GALS now means billions we will not have to deal with in the future. Remember, the snails can to consume 500 different agricultural crops, grow to a maximum length of eight inches, live for nine years and, as noted above, can lay up to 1,200 eggs each year.

Eradicating these voracious, invasive creatures will take more years of effort, but because the snail is so prolific — and our Florida landscapes and agriculture so valuable — it is an investment we must continue to make.

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