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Billboards on US 1 & Palmetto Expwy. show giant African land snail, tell public, “Look for them! Report them!”

October 4, 2012

If you’re driving on U.S. 1 or the Palmetto Expressway this week, your eyes will likely be drawn to billboards featuring the giant African land snail. The newly erected boards are part of a continuing effort to engage the community in the battle to eradicate the snail.

GALS Billboard1Teams from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have collected more than 85,000 GALS since the first one was discovered in September 2011. Reports from the Miami-Dade community continue to support the effort to eliminate the voracious pest from the South Florida landscape.

Reports from the public to the Helpline, 1 (888) 397-1517, have been responsible for establishment of 90 percent of the core search areas where more than 84,000 snails have been captured.

The giant African land snail is a slimy and dangerous agricultural and urban plant pest. It feeds on more than 500 plants and extracts calcium from concrete on the sides of houses. It can grow up to eight inches in length and can live for nine years. Adults typically lay up to 1,200 eggs annually, so populations can quickly grow to the tens of thousands. The snail has been known to harbor the microscopic rat lung worm, which can transmit a form of meningitis to humans.

The message to the public continues to be: Look for them! Report them!

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