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

North Korea Is Not Pleased: Dance Video Features Kim Jong Un

Citing a threat to the leader’s dignity, North Korea reportedly asks China to block a video that inserts Kim Jong Un’s image into bizarre situations, all set to a bouncy dance track.


Hospital Settles Lawsuit By Thousands Of Women Over Exam Photos

The Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that includes more than 7,000 women.


Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin votes for a U.N. Security Council draft resolution demanding full access for investigators at the Malaysia Airlines crash site in eastern Ukraine.

Flight MH17: Black Boxes And Bodies Handed Over; U.N. Calls For Inquiry

In a late-night exchange, pro-Russian separatists have given what they say are Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17′s data recorders to Malaysian officials in eastern Ukraine.


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Friend Convicted For Impeding Bombing Inquiry

Azamat Tazhayakov has been found guilty on some obstruction of justice charges, and not guilty of others. He was accused of removing evidence from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room.


Sgt. Ryan Pitts waits for a flight at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Veteran Who Held Off Taliban Attack On His Own Receives Medal Of Honor

Army Sgt. Ryan Pitts is credited with holding off a brutal Taliban attack back in 2008. He was the only one left alive at an observation post in Afghanistan, and continued to attack despite injuries.


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
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments