It’s back, Florida: ‘One of the most damaging snails in the world.’ What we know

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FLORIDA DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE

As we head into the long holiday weekend, there’s one more thing for Floridians to worry about:

The giant African land snail.

Last year, the invasive mollusk had been been eradicated (meaning one hadn’t been seen in three years), but apparently it’s back in action.

Why you should be concerned: These ravenous creatures eat 500 types of plants, as well as the paint and stucco off your house. They also can grow up to eight inches long.

The reappearance of this species forced state officials to enact a quarantine order for Pasco County, after a community gardener in Port Richey stumbled upon one on June 23.

Additional sightings were subsequently reported in the area.

“The giant African land snail is one of the most damaging snails in the world,” warned the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “These snails could be devastating to Florida agriculture and natural areas as they cause extensive damage to tropical and subtropical environments.”

They also pose a serious health risk to humans and pets because they carry the parasite rat lung worm, known to cause meningitis.

Report sightings to the FDACS at 888-397-1575 or email a photo to DPIHelpline@FDACS.gov

READ MORE: A woman found a lizard in her pants in Florida. See the video