A few years ago, a Twitter user living in Denver created a stir on the internet. When he tweeted about his pet a rabbit being sick. The photo tweeted was that of a large African land snail but he called it his pet rabbit. The reaction vas varied and shows the extent to which people go to be different. In this case, we see a snail held as a pet rabbit. Some of us would see them as creepy creatures but there are others who would find them as adorable pets. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers these snails as pests. So, they have banned them. The Department of Agriculture says that these giant African Snails got to the U.S. in the 60s. It was when a boy from South Florida on a visit to Hawaii smuggled in three of these snails. After seven years, those three snails multiplied to over 18,000 in Florida. Due to this rapid rate of their population increase and being plant-eating, they are a pest.
The African Land Snail is native to Africa but they also live in hot wet places around the world. And are creatures of the night. They are the largest snails that we know in existence. There are more than 500 different kinds of these snails that feed on plants. They have a life span of about five and seven years. And reproduce at an alarming rate. The adult snail can produce up to 1,200 eggs in a year. These African snails feed on plants and can eat a wide variety of them. So, they present a problem for the agriculture industry of any country. And their main habitat usually is agricultural areas. This makes their presence a threat to our agricultural crops. They feed on plants and their increase in numbers is so rapid. With their size and the appetite that goes along with it then it is easy to see the threat. These giant African snails can devour our crops overnight. If they enter and multiply without control. But the food of these giant snails is not confined to plants. They also like feeding on stucco and concrete that has calcium. So, they present other threats. If allowed to increase without control, they can destroy our food supply. They can also be a threat to our buildings. Imagine having these giant snails eating away at our walls and their foundations. It would be difficult to cope with. They can cause severe damage to the foundation and structure of our buildings.
But the threat of the giant African snail is more than to agriculture and infrastructure. They can also pose a serious threat to the health of our nation. These African snails are also carriers of parasites like the rat lungworm parasite. Also, they also carry salmonella bacteria. So, there are good reasons for U.S. policy. A commitment to prevent the giant African land snail from gaining ground in the country. So, if you want to have the African land snail as a pet you will need to be in another country. There will be other countries where it is legal to do so.