Miami, with its beautiful beaches, warm temperatures and vibrant nightlife, might be known for its fast-paced atmosphere, but now residents are finding themselves facing an infestation of sluggish proportions: Giant African Snails.
They eat at least 500 different types of plants, lay about 1,200 eggs a year, and can carry a strain of non-fatal meningitis. Prolific breeders, they contain both female and male reproductive organs and live as long as nine years.They can be particularly devastating to agricultural areas and ecosystems and result in trade bans. Hailing from Eastern Africa, the snails are only allowed into the United States with special permits and for scientific research.
Smuggling the snails into the U.S. is illegal, MSNBC reports, pointing to a study finding “Florida has more non-native amphibians and reptiles than anywhere else in the world, and that the pet trade is the main cause.”
The large snails made their first appearance in South Florida in 1966 after a boy brought three from Hawaii and set them free in Miami. It cost the state about $1 million to remove all of the snails, the Miami Herald reports.
In January, reports surfaced about Giant African Snails being used to monitor pollution from a sewage incinerator in Russia. The snails were being used because “they [had] lungs and breathe[d] air like humans.” Some animal rights activists were outraged over the reports.
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Category: Crazy/ Weird/ Funny
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