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Boosting Awareness of the Giant African Land Snail in Miami

November 14, 2013

Taking it to the Streets

This month, if you live in the Miami area, chances are good you will see or hear one of our reminders to watch for and report giant African land snails.  The snails are known to consume more than 500 kinds of plants, as well as stucco and concrete. They also threaten human and animal health, because they are known to harbor the rat lungworm, a microscopic parasite that can cause a form of meningitis in humans and animals that are exposed to the snails’ slime.

Folks who walk or ride the bus in areas where the snail has been found are seeing signs on bus benches. They look like this:
 
BusBench

Scanning the QR code in the lower left corner with your mobile device takes you to our website, where you can learn more about the snail and why the drive to eradicate it remains urgent as the program begins its third year.

In addition to the bus benches, the snail program is being featured on channels on Comcast Cable and in ads on WIOD Radio. There’s also a new billboard is going up on N.E. 54th Street just west of N.E. Second Avenue. That’s near an important core area where thousands of the snails have been collected.

More than 133,000 specimens have been found in Miami-Dade since they were discovered in September 2011, with more than 50 employees from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services dedicated to this eradication effort.  Following a recent, encouraging program audit by an international snail expert, state and federal agriculture officials are optimistic the program is on the right track for a successful eradication.

The giant African land snail. Look for it! Report it! Our Helpline number is 1-888-397-1517, and as they say on TV, “Operators are standing by.”

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