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Giant African Land Snail Outreach Gearing up Again in Miami-Dade

February 4, 2013

Here is a “quick-and-dirty” screen shot of the electronic billboard at Palmetto ExpresswayImage and NW. 103rd Street in Hialeah as, at the stroke of midnight Nov. 4, it began flashing our message in support of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ campaign to eradicate the giant African Land Snail from Miami (see a clean view of the board’s content, below). Static billboards are also up at Highway 1 and SW 248th St. and at Palmetto Expressway and NW South River Drive.

We are also sponsoring radio, cable television and newspaper ads in the Miami-Dade market. The campaign urges residents to watch for the snails and report sightings to the FDACS/DPI Helpline, 1-888-397-1517. Radio spots are running on WIOD AM/FM and Spanish language WMGE-FM. Cable TV ads are running on selected cable channels (English and Spanish) on the Comcast cable system. Our staff members continue to make presentations at community events throughout the region, encouraging the public to “Watch for It! Report It!”

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The snail is a slimy,voracious agricultural and urban plant pest. It feeds on more than 500 species of 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.

Scientists from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Plant Industry have confirmed some specimens captured in Miami carried the rat lungworm parasite. This parasite can cause a form of meningitis in humans.  Members of the public dealing with a suspect snail should avoid touching it. A list of Frequently Asked Questions with answers is available here.

To date our teams have collected more than 110,000 snails since the eradication program began in September 2011.

Remember: Look for It. Report It.

FDACS/DPI Helpline, 1-888-397-1517.

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