Florida, you have a snail. A giant African land snail seen in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County, Florida. As a result, the Florida Department of Agriculture is asking everyone to get the “shell” out of there and create a quarantine zone extending nearly six miles from the northwest corner of US Highway 19. This is for three reasons. One is that the giant African ground snail can destroy a variety of plants. The second is that they can eat into buildings such as plaster surfaces. The third is the dangerous parasite that such snails may carry: the rat lungworm.
the following CBS 10 Tampa Bay News clip showing the quarantine area:
You can imagine that anything that has the words ‘mouse’ and ‘worm’ in its name has a good chance of not being good. That’s why not a lot of celebrities called their kids “rat worms.” Otherwise known as nematodes Angiostrongylus cantonensis, The rat lung worm is commonly found in rodents. The feces of infected rodents can contain Angiostrongylus Larvae, which is another reason not to play with or eat rat excrement. Snails and slugs know no better, and can in turn become infected when eating such feces and larvae. These larvae grow but do not become fully adults while in snails and slugs. No, it is a scientist who eats mice, snails and slugs that completes the life cycle of the lungworm in mice. Once you return the mature larva to the rodent, it can then become an adult worm. Thus, the lungworm competes with mice in the circle of life.
You can break into this circle by either intentionally eating an infected snail or slug or accidentally eating one of them hiding in raw produce like lettuce. That’s why you may need to make it clear if the waiter asks if you want a piece of sauce on your salad. Also, make sure any snails you eat are thoroughly cooked until any parasites are gone:
And if someone challenges you to eat a live slug during a game of Truth or Dare, choose “Truth” instead. So what if you confess that you are in love with your best friend. It’s better than getting meningitis.
Infection with this parasite does not always cause symptoms. But the biggest concern is a rare type of meningitis called eosinophilic meningitis. Meningitis is life-threatening inflammation of the membranes that wrap around the brain such as Saran Wrap. When you have eosinophilic meningitis, you may have a headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, or tingling of your skin.
Now you may be wondering how big a giant African ground snail is. After all, the word “giant” can be an exaggeration, especially when used on a potential date. Well, in this case, “giant” means up to eight inches tall and five inches in diameter. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) These snails are called “one of the most harmful snails in the world”. Besides potentially carrying the rat lungworm, the snail can treat a wide variety of plants as if it were a hot dog in Nathan’s hot dog eating competition. They will eat through many different plants of agricultural, economic, and medicinal importance, ranging from cocoa to papayas to peanuts to rubber plants.
These snails, known as Lisakatina VulicaIt was first found in eastern Tanzania and eastern Kenya on the continent of Africa. These snails subsequently settled throughout South Asia, Southeast Asia, southern China, island groups of the Indo-Pacific basin, many islands of the Caribbean, and a large part of South America. It arrived in the United States in 1966, when someone brought the snail to downtown Miami, Florida. Snails multiply quickly because that’s what snails are doing and they’re starting to wreak agricultural havoc. Since then, Florida has waged a game between humans and the snail shell. After spending about $1 million in the time to get rid of the snails and their eggs, the state declared the snails eradicated in 1975. The snails may have disappeared by then, but in 2011 someone brought the snails back to Miami, Florida, again. This second round of eradication attempts cost the state (ie the taxpayer) more than $23 million. In September 2021, The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced The giant African land snail in Florida has been exterminated again. Now, less than a year later, the snail is back again, this time spotted by a skilled gardener. And finding a giant African land snail isn’t the same as finding a rabbit, puppy or puppy, no matter how adorable they look:
The return of the giant African ground snail is clearly not good news. Florida certainly has its share of public health problems right now, from an increase in Covid-19 cases to meningococcal outbreaks to a host of monkeypox cases to listeria outbreaks. In the meantime, if you see a giant African land snail, contact the authorities as soon as possible. Do not touch the snail or eat it. Pay attention to the warning above. You don’t want anyone to say, “I nematode you like that.”