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Florida Braces for Giant Snail Infestation

They eat plaster and stucco and harbor parasites


giant african land snailFloridians have to put up with hurricanes, alligators and snakes. Now, they have a new pest, one that leaves a slimy trail.

The Giant African Land Snail first showed up in the Miami-Dada area in 2011. Now, residents are catching 1,000 of them every week. The snails, which can eat through plaster and stucco, can cause significant damage to buildings and gardens, Reuters notes.

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With the onset of spring, hungry snails will soon rise from underground hibernation. The mollusks can feed on at least 500 varieties of plants. Typically, they cover the ground on some Caribbean islands, leaving delightful trails of excrement and bodily fluids.  Additionally, the snails are often infested with parasites that can cause disease in humans.

In 1966, Florida experienced an infestation of the snails, which took a decade and $1 million to eliminate.

The source of the snail invasion is not precisely known. However, researchers say that tourists often unwittingly transport exotic species with their baggage when they return to the U.S.

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