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Giant African snail 'humanely destroyed' by Australian biosecurity officers

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   March 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM   |   Comments

March 12 (UPI) -- Baseball-sized escargot anyone?

Shipping yard workers in Brisbane, Australia found a giant African snail -- native to Africa and Asia -- wandering dangerously far away from home, according to Australia's ABC News.

Considered one of the world's most invasive species, giant African snails can grow to be eight inches long, weigh more than two pounds and lay up to 1,200 eggs a year. They can eat up to 500 different kinds of plant species and can carry a parasite that causes meningitis in humans.

Australian bio-security officers "humanly destroyed" the rogue snail and found no evidence of other snails or snail eggs.

"Giant African snails are one of the world's largest and most damaging land snails," acting regional manager Paul Nixon said.

"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," he added.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry via ABC.

U.S. officials found thousands of the snails in a residential Miami-Dade County community in 2011.

“They leave excrement all over the sides of houses. They’re very nasty,” the director of Florida's Division of Plant Industry said at the time. “These things are not the cute little snails that you see.”

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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