It seemed a bit surprising that the “land down under,” the home of Crocodile Dundee should be taken aback by anything, especially a snail. But this is not your typical snail. According to ABC News, the giant African snail, considered to be the largest species of snail on land, was found crawling across the concrete at a Brisbane container yard yesterday. Even though it “was described as being the size of a cricketball” by the biosecurity officers, what is particularly alarming is their rapid reproduction rate. Acting regional manager Paul Nixon says the snail is also a hermaphrodite, meaning the species can quickly spread.
"They can grow quite significantly but the impact for us is not so much around the growth but the extent that they can lay their eggs and breed quite prolifically. They are essentially a male-female all-in-one so they can essentially lay eggs without the need for any other snail," he said.
In fact the article mentions that an individual snail can lay up to 1,200 eggs a year after a single mating and can live up to nine years. These are years fraught with high drama for a snail which can grow as long as 8 inches and are capable of destroying 500 different types of plants, fruit trees and native forests.
Even though the snails are rare to Australia, they are not strangers to Florida. Since their discovery in September of 2011 these giant African land snails have invaded up to 350 properties in Miami-Dade County reports CBS Miami. “After one year of battling the giant African land snail with every tool currently available to us, we are still confident we can win this fight,” said Richard Gaskalla, director of the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industry. They caused complete chaos leaving excrement all over the sides of houses and also pose a health risk by carrying a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans.
Understandably then, this giant exotic snail was humanely destroyed in Brisbane and they plan to monitor the site for a week for any further activity.