Disease-Carrying Snail Still Plagues Florida

Sep 8, 2015

He’s not declaring victory, but Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is heading to South Florida Wednesday to mark progress in eradicating the giant African land snail.

The giant African land snail not only threatens leafy green crops, it also carries a parasite that humans can pass on. Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary since the mollusk was discovered in Florida.

The eye-catching mollusk was first spotted four years ago and is considered a major threat to all leafy green crops. The ravenous snail is about the size of a human hand, but department spokesman Aaron Keller doesn’t recommend picking one up.

“They carry a parasite that has been shown to be able to transfer from those who touch or handle the giant African land snail," he said.

Homeowners also have to be wary. The snail eats stucco.

So far, the body count is 150,000, Keller says. That’s how many snails have been found, mostly in South Florida, and destroyed.