Huge snails the size of baseballs have been taken and destroyed in Australia. Reuters reported that snails have been devouring plants including papaya and cocoa and were a huge threat to Australian agriculture in the region.
The snails which were found at a Brisbane shipping container yard have been identified as a giant African snail. Reuters reported that these snails can grow up to 12 inches long and 2.2 lbs in weight.
They are well known for eating different crops in Australia. Paul Nixon who is acting regional manager at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Australia said in a statement, "Giant African snails are one of the world's largest and most damaging land snails/"
The snails are capable of eating 500 different types of plants, reported Couriermail.com.au. "Australia's strict biosecurity requirements and responsive system has so far kept these pests out of Australia and we want to keep it that way," said Nixon to Couriermail.com.au
The snail has the capability of laying 1,200 eggs a year and can live through extreme temperatures. It can also infect humans with meningitis.
"The last major Australian outbreak of the snail was in 1977, when 300 giant snails were exterminated in Queensland in an intensive eight-month campaign of community education, baiting and snail collection," reported Reuters.
The snail was destroyed in the area and officials have not found any further evidence of snails or snail eggs in the area.
Nixon added to Australian ABC News that the snail is a hermaphrodite which means they can reproduce fast.
"They are essentially a male-female all-in-one so they can essentially lay eggs without the need for any other snail," he said. "They can grow quite significantly but the impact for us is not so much around the growth but the extent that they can lay their eggs and breed quite prolifically."
The snails are also an issue in the other areas of the world.
"The snails are so bad in Nigeria, they actually flatten tires on cars on the road, the shells, they're so tough," Howard Wallace who works for the Florida Department of Agriculture said to ABC News. "It affects not only agriculture, but our way of life, our health, and our safety."
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