MIAMI (AP) — State agriculture officials say they’re still capturing thousands of giant African land snails in Miami-Dade County.
The invasive species was discovered Sept. 8 in the South Florida county. Since then, the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industry has collected more than 37,000 of the snails.
Officials credit homeowners calling the state’s hotline for the bulk of the captures.
The giant African land snail is considered one of the most damaging snails in the world because it eats at least 500 different kinds of plants and it can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco. It also can carry a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans.
It’s illegal to import the snails into the U.S. without a permit. Officials say there are no permits currently issued for the snail.