Nation & World News

Dogs Prove To Be Key In Battle Against Giant African Snails

By Mark Memmott on August 30th, 2013

More than 128,000 Giant African Land Snails have been found and eradicated in the two years since the highly destructive creatures invaded the Miami-Dade area, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam says.

While it’s too soon to declare victory, “we are confident that we will win this fight,” Putnam adds.

Part of the credit, officials say, should go to “canine detector teams” that are sniffing out snails in places that are tough for humans to search.

According to South Florida’s WTVJ-TV, one of the Labrador Retrievers out hunting snails is Bear — a U.S. Department of Agriculture canine who recently has been finding hundreds of snails each week (which is fewer than were being discovered last year, a decline that officials think is a sign they’re making progress).

As we said back in September 2011 when the snail invasion was detected, the snails eat about 500 different types of plants and can spread a parasite that causes a form of meningitis. Florida’s agriculture commission adds that:

“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.”

It’s thought that the invasion began with the smuggling of a few snails into Florida by a man who practices a traditional African religion. He reportedly convinced some followers to drink the snails’ juices. They became violently ill.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Virginia’s Pamunkey Tribe Granted Federal Recognition

The Native Americans had contact with earliest English settlers and included Pocahontas among their members.


Maria Leaves Sesame Street After 44 Years On The Block

Sonia Manzano’s acting career began when she was in the original cast of Godspell – a musical which began as a student production on campus, according to the Associated Press.


ISIS Reportedly Destroys Ancient Statue In Captured City Of Palmyra

Photos released by the Islamist extremist group show a 2,000-year-old stone sculpture of a lion being smashed with sledgehammers.


Former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., speaks at the National Sheriffs' Association presidential forum in Baltimore on Tuesday. Webb announced Thursday that he is running for president.

Former Sen. Jim Webb Announces Run For Democratic Nomination

Webb, 69, represented Virginia for a single term beginning in 2007. He says the country “needs a fresh approach to solving problems.”


The mangled fuselage of a TransAsia Airways commercial plane is dragged to the river bank after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, on Wednesday.

Taiwan Airliner’s Black Box Shows Pilot May Have Shut Off Wrong Engine

The pilot of TransAsia Airways Flight 235, which crashed shortly after takeoff in February, may have switched off the only operating engine moments before the accident that killed 43 people.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments