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Giant African snail killed to protect Australian crops

Giant African snail: Discovered in Brisbane, authorities immediately dispatched the Giant African snail. The giant, non-native pest has a voracious appetite for more than 500 types of crops.

By Staff writer / March 12, 2013

A Giant African Snail was found in Brisbane, Australian. This one was found in Florida.



Take look at the Giant African snail (Lissachatina fulica), and you can't help but be reminded of a scene from the 1996 movie Crocodile Dundee.

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Our Australian hero Mick Dundee is approached by mugger in New York City. Dundee's girl warns him, "he's got a knife." Dundee replies, "That's not a knife," and he pulls out a foot-long Bowie knife."That's a knife."

You could imagine a similar scene playing out in a Brisbane, Australia, shipyard when a worker stumbled upon a Giant African snail.

This snail was almost as big as Mick Dundee's knife.

The Giant African snail can grow up to a foot in length and weigh up to 2 pounds. This particular specimen – about the size of a cricket ball – was quickly destroyed by Australia's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry.

The concern?

"Giant African Snails are one of the world’s largest and most damaging land snails," DAFF regional manager Paul Nixon said in a statement. The Brisbane Times reports that the "pest has an insatiable appetite and is capable of destroying 500 types of plants, including vegetable crops, fruit trees, and Australia’s native eucalypts"

‘‘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.

Australian officials are no doubt aware of the battle that Floridians are now fighting with Giant African Snails, a rather pernicious invasive species.

This is how the US Department of Agriculture describes the exotic pest in a blog entitled: "Escargot? More like Escar-no!"

"Big and slimy, the giant African snail is well-equipped to become an invasive species: they have voracious appetites, reproduce quickly, live a long time, and have no natural predators in Florida. The first snails were discovered and reported by a Miami homeowner in September 2011. In just six months, APHIS and FDACS have collected more than 40,000 of these giant creepy crawlies.


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