Giant snails have invaded the U.S. recently, particularly in Florida, and it is none other than dogs that are being used to counter the Giant African Land Snails from taking over community areas. Over 128,000 of these slimy creatures have been found and killed in the past two years since the animals began to invade the Miami region, and man’s best friend — dogs — are the secret to keeping them at bay and even stopping them, NPR reports this Friday, Aug. 30.
These giant snails are being located and eradicated using teams of trained “canine detector groups”, specially trained dogs that sniff out these Giant African Land Snails across the states in places that are too obscure or simply hard for humans to find.
“While it's a little too early to declare victory, we are confident that we will win this fight," said one official. "We need to keep them spreading at bay ... and dogs [are the key.]"
One of these talented search dogs is Bear, a Labrador Retriever used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that has been finding literally of hundreds of snails every week in the South Florida area. Due to the lessening numbers of finds in the area, these giant snail eradicators are hopeful that there are simply a fewer number of the invading animals present.
When the Giant African Land Snail invasion was first discovered back in late 2011, it was immediately known to be a big problem. The snails are known to eat over 500 types of plants, and can even spread a dangerous virus linked to meningitis. Adds one official:
"The snails can also cause structural damage to buildings; they consume plaster and stucco to acquire the calcium needed by the snails to grow their large shells. In large numbers, GALS can cause extensive damage."
Officials are hopeful that within the next year, however, almost all of these snails will be gone as man's best friend, these talented dogs, continue to counter these destructive animals.
The giant snails were first thought to have invaded the U.S. after being smuggled in from Africa.