This isn’t a practice run.
These enormous snails are genuine, and they took over Florida a few years ago.
Meet the enormous African land snail, a Kenyan and Tanzanian species. They may grow to be over 8 inches long as adults, almost as big as a person’s face or palm.
These gentle herbivores have found their way into the humid tropics of China, India, and even the southern United States during the past 80 years thanks to the pet trade, and they’re now regarded one of the world’s most invasive “pests” because of their voracious appetite for crops and gardens.
Humans, of course, release their hungry pet snails into the wild, causing this. In locations like South Florida, where the enormous snails have no natural predators, populations have exploded out of control since the 1960s.
“We’d uncover traces on the exterior of buildings where the snails had been nibbling the stucco when it was at its peak,” Benjamin recalled. “Stucco contains calcium, which snails use to maintain the health of their shells.”
The government is now sure that the problem has been resolved, since no recorded snail sightings have been reported in Florida since December 2017. That isn’t to say they haven’t been attentive in their preventative efforts.
Each snail possesses both male and female parts, allowing them to mate with another snail whenever they come across one. One adult snail may lay roughly 1,200 eggs every year, which is how they are able to swiftly take over natural regions.
“We were fortunate in that we were able to identify this early and keep them out of the agricultural regions,” Christina Lawson, the department’s public relations director, told The Dodo. “Almost the course of this [seven-year] campaign, we’ve gathered over 165,000 snails.” It would very certainly have to be a reintroduction for them to show up again.”
While they only survive five or six years in captivity — and that’s with a good owner who can keep up with their continual food and care — they may live up to ten years in the wild, where they spend the most of their days burrowed in earth and only emerge at night.