They look impressive – but in the wild, the always hungry large agate snails quickly cause enormous damage. In Florida they want to put an end to them.
The giant agate snail is impressive: it just fits in an adult’s hand, almost the size of a guinea pig. Because of its impressive appearance, it is kept as a pet in terrariums by many enthusiasts. But in the wild, the snails can become a big problem – as in Florida, where the animals, which actually come from East Africa, seem to feel right at home.
But wild agate snails are not only very hungry and decimate a wide variety of plants at an amazing rate, they can also be infested by a parasite that can transmit meningitis to humans on contact. In addition, large agate snails can reproduce extremely quickly: one specimen lays up to 1200 eggs a year.
Snails are becoming a nuisance in Florida
In Florida, where the animals were probably introduced by seafaring, vigorous action is now being taken against them. And actually, until the summer of this year, it was thought that the fight against the voracious reptiles had been successful and that the agate snails had been completely eradicated. But in the city of New Port Richey, some of the animals have now been discovered again – with severe consequences for the residents.
The place has been quarantined for the time being. Unlike Corona, residents are free to roam and socialize, but they may not touch or move plants or parts of plants, soil, garden waste, rubble or compost without prior notice and official permission. The snail itself must not be touched under any circumstances. During the quarantine, experts will spray metaldehyde in the affected area to decimate the immigrant animals.
Source: Florida Department of Agriculture, “Indy100”