PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — (Editor's note: The video above is from a July 21, 2022, story on the giant African land snails in Pasco County.)
It's almost been one month since the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services began collecting invasive giant African land snails in Pasco County. Now they've rounded up almost 3,000 of them.
In an update Tuesday, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said that nearly 3,000 snails were collected from more than 600 surveys in the area to date. And on the bright side, officials haven't had to expand the quarantine or treatment area.
Under the quarantine, people aren't allowed to transport plants, soil, yard waste, debris or compost in the affected area without a compliance agreement with FDACS.
"Our labs did confirm on Friday (7/15) the presence of rat lungworm in specimens collected, which is an important reminder of the risks posed by GALS and why you should not touch, move, or consume them," a spokesperson for FDACS said in a news release.
The giant snails can grow up to eight 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.
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.
Neighbors who think they see these pesky snails are asked to contact the Division of Plant Industry helpline at 1-888-397-1517 or email a photo of it to DPIHelpline@FDACS.gov.