NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — According to state officials, more than 1,430 giant African land snails have been collected from Pasco County since the invasive species was first detected by the state just a few weeks ago.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is hard at work trying to eradicate what they call “one of the most damaging snails in the world,” focusing their work on a quarantined area of the county around New Port Richey.
Under the quarantine, people are not allowed to transport plants, soil, yard waste, debris or compost in the affected area without a compliance agreement with FDACS.
The giant snails can grow up to 8 inches in size and are known to destroy plants and eat stucco off homes and even spread disease, as some carry a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans.
So far, the snails have been discovered on 30 of 525 surveyed properties.
FDACS has been physically surveilling the area, using K-9s to sniff out the snails and have been treating impacted areas with a “metaldehyde-based molluscicide," meant to kill the snails.
If you think you’ve spotted a snail, you are asked not to touch it and email a photo of it to DPIHelpline@FDACS.gov or call the Division of Plant Industry Helpline at 1-888-397-1517.
The giant African land snail has already been eradicated twice in Florida: once in 1975 and another in 2021.
During the first case, about 17,000 snails were collected over the course of seven years. Around 170,000 were collected over the course of 10 years in the second case.