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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Giant African Snail

The giant African snail threatens our plants, our homes and our health. Report giant African snails immediately.

The Giant African Snail (Lissachatina fulica or GAS) was first found in southern Florida in the 1960s, and it took 10 years and $1 million to eradicate it. It was reintroduced in 2011, and eradication efforts were completed in Broward and Miami Dade counties in Florida in 2021. State and Federal officials are responding to a new introduction of the invasive snails—this time in Pasco County, Florida. The giant African snails detected in New Port Richey, Florida are unrelated to the population of giant African snails eradicated from Broward and Miami Dade counties last year. This pest remains a threat in Florida, Hawaii and the Caribbean. GAS is one of the most damaging snails in the world because it consumes at least 500 types of plants and can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco structures. This snail can also carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans. One of the most damaging snails in the world. GAS reproduces quickly, producing about 1,200 eggs in a single year.

  • The giant African snail feeds on more than 500 types of plants, including: peanuts, beans, peas, cucumbers and melons.

  • If fruits and vegetables are not available, the snails will eat a wide variety of ornamental plants, tree bark and even paint and stucco on houses.

  • Like other invasive pests and diseases, giant African snails could enter the United States as hitchhikers on imported cargo

  • GAS have also been illegally imported by individuals for classroom exhibits, as pets or for food

  • Reaching almost 8 inches (20 cm) in length and 5 inches (13 cm) in maximum diameter, this is one of the world's largest land snails—about the size of an average adult fist. When fully grown, its shell consists of seven to nine whorls, with a long and greatly swollen body whorl. The brownish shell with darker brown lengthwise stripes covers at least half the length of the snail.

  • Each snail contains both female and male reproductive organs. After a single mating, each snail can produce 100 to 500 eggs. These snails can reproduce several more times without mating again. They can generate clutches of eggs every 2 to 3 months.

  • Although this species thrives in tropical and subtropical areas, it can survive in cold conditions. In winter in the Northern United States, the snail would become slow and sluggish, almost hibernating until warmer weather returns.
  • Be cautious around these snails. They may carry organisms that can cause diseases in humans. These organisms can be transferred by ingesting improperly cooked snail meat or by handling live snails and allowing their mucus to contact human mucous membranes such as those in the eyes, nose and mouth.

  • If you handle snails or slugs, wear gloves and wash your hands. Always remember to thoroughly wash fresh produce. When traveling in areas where the parasite is common, avoid eating uncooked vegetables.

  • Allow authorized agricultural workers access to property to survey for the snail.

  • Cooperate with all quarantine restrictions or rules that might be imposed.

  • Know the quarantines in your area and learn to leave Hungry Pests behind.


Quick Links

APHIS Mollusks page

Pest Alert (English | Spanish)

What's at Risk from the Giant African Snail:

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