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That Giant Snail on TV is a Real Threat!

November 20, 2013

Miami residents who subscribe to Comcast cable are seeing some dramatic ads on many cable channels featuring the giant African land snail. A few viewers have called the FDACS/DPI Helpline to ask if the snails are real. (View the ad here.)

SnailLifeStages

Life stages of the giant African land snail, which can grow to be eight inches long. It has been found in 22 core areas in Miami-Dade.

They are, indeed, real and they pose a serious threat to agriculture, landscapes, structures and human health. They 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.

This month we have been using a variety of media to call attention to the ongoing efforts to eradicate the giant African land snails from Miami. If you live in Miami-Dade the chances are good you have seen or heard our reminders. In addition to the Comcast cable ads, the snail program is being featured in ads on WIOD Radio and on a billboard 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.

Our inspectors have found more than 134,000 specimens since the invasive snails were discovered in September 2011. More than 50 employees from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are 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.

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