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Giant African Land Snails by the Numbers

November 13, 2014

 

This index tracks the giant African land snail eradication program in South Florida. Figures are current as of Nov. 7, 2014. They will be updated regularly on this blog.

The giant African land snail can grow to be up to eight inches long.

The giant African land snail can grow to be up to eight inches long.

An unprecedented and continuing effort by state and federal agricultural officials has resulted in a steady decline in the numbers of giant African land snails (GALS) in Florida since the invasive snails were detected in Miami-Dade County neighborhoods in September 2011.  On September 9, 2014, however, GALS were found in Davie, Broward County. It was the first find on a property in Florida outside of Miami-Dade County. The snails can grow to be eight inches long and attack more than 500 plant species. They consume stucco to obtain calcium to build their shells and can damage buildings. They are known to carry a parasite that can spread a form of meningitis to which humans and animals are susceptible. Below are key numbers related to the eradication program.

9/8/11: Date the giant African land snail was discovered in Miami

9/9/14: Snail was found in Broward County, first Florida site outside of Miami-Dade County

500: Number of agricultural crops known to be consumed by the snail

8” x 4”: Maximum size attained by individuals of the species

9: Maximum years in the life span of individuals

1,200: Number of eggs an adult can lay in one year

151,601+: Number of GALS found between 10/2011 and 11/7/14

28: Number of core areas where the snail has been found in South Florida

666: Number of properties on which snails have been found

60,097: Number of properties within a one-half-mile arc of positive properties

9+: Number of years it took to eradicate the snail after it was found in Florida in 1966

17,000: Total number of snails collected in the 1966-1975 eradication program

$1 million: Cost of that eradication (in 1960s dollars)

1: Number of successful GALS eradication programs on record

2012: Year in which scientists confirmed rat lungworm present in snails captured in Miami

92: Percentage of cases identified due to calls from the public to the Helpline

2: Number of detector dogs added to the GALS survey team

1-888-397-1517: Number of the Division of Plant Industry toll-free Helpline

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