Skip to content
Diana Quigley, Education and Change Management ManagerAug 9, 20231 min read

Invasion of Alien Snails

Okay. Maybe they aren't "alien" snails, but it got your attention. In the last few months, South Florida has been inundated with giant African land snails. So much so, that there are quarantines in Broward, Lee and Pasco counties as of this writing.

These invasive snails have voracious appetites and consume hundreds of species of plants, including our citrus crops.

According to the Pest Alert (FDACS-01717) revised in June 2023, this giant African land snail (GALS for short - the FDACS term, not mine), the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, is one of the MOST invasive pests on the planet, causing agricultural and environmental damage wherever they are found. The latest quarantine for South Florida took place in Miramar, covering several dozen city blocks.

These snails cause a significant hazard to humans, as well, by carrying the "rat lungworm" parasite, known to cause meningitis. These snails get smuggled into the states by hitching rides on pet carries, luggage, or even planes, as well as getting carried in by actual smugglers of "exotic pets". The snails aren't really picky about how they get here.

An ABC News Report states that in 1966 these snails were first found in Miami and numbers swelled to over 18,000 in six years. Because of the damage they can cause and adverse health risks by coming in contact with them, it's worthwhile for us to be vigilant and notify FDACS if found in our areas.

For more information, click here.