More than 40,000 giant African land snails have been collected in South Florida since the outbreak was detected in Coral Gables in September last year, according to CBS Miami. The invasive slimeballs eat almost everything in their path and apparently multiply faster than rabbits. To put that number in perspective, just 18,000 were collected in the '60s when South Florida first successfully eradicated the creatures. Yeah, we've got a problem.
The Florida and U.S. agriculture departments announced the huge and disturbing haul. These things munch on more than 500 types of crops and can chew through a farmer's field like a bunch of stoned UM freshman who just ordered ten pizzas from Miami's Best. They also can eat through stucco and plaster of people's homes.
If you see one of these snails, do not -- we repeat, DO NOT -- tell it to go f**k itself. That's the last thing you want. These snails have both sets of genitalia and can reproduce on their own. They can lay 1,200 eggs a year, and once hatched, the snail can live up to nine years.
If you see a giant African land snail, instead call 888-397-1517 to report the sighting. Do not -- we repeat, DO NOT -- touch the snail. It is known to carry a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans.
Here's the FDOA's map from January showing where clusters of the snails have been found.
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This is not the first time Miami-Dade has had to deal with these snails. An outbreak occurred in 1966. A boy was keeping the snails as pets but let them into the wild when he grew bored of them. Seven years later, more than 18,000 snails were collected after having racked up more than $1 million in damages. That effort is the only known successful eradication of the snails once they had been released into the wild.