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An Update on Giant African Land Snail Eradication in South Florida, by the Numbers

December 12, 2014

 

FDACS Teams Continue to Seek Out GALS

GALS digital billboard

Giant African land snails (GALS) were found in Miami-Dade County in September 2011 and in Davie, Broward County, on September 9, 2014. Ongoing eradication efforts by FDACS have brought significant decline in the snail population, and most snails now being found by the inspectors are dead. Nevertheless, the public is urged to continue to be vigilant. Most of the snail finds have resulted from reports from residents. 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. (Numbers updated as of December 4, 2014)

9/8/11: Date the giant African land snail was discovered in Miami (current infestation)

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 this species

9: Maximum years in the life span of this species

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

152,327: Number of GALS found between 09/2011 and 12/04/14

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

666: Number of properties on which snails have been found

60,000+: 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 successful eradication (in 1960s dollars)

1: Number of successful GALS eradication programs on record

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

92: Percentage of new core areas that resulted from calls from the public to the Helpline

2: Number of detector dogs added to the survey team

1-888-397-1517: Phone number for the Division of Plant Industry toll-free Helpline

 

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