Giant African snail was destroyed after it was found in a yard in Brisbane. The giant African snail is known to eat 500 different types of plants and can lay 1,200 eggs in a year.
A snail the size of a baseball discovered in Australia was killed to protect the country’s vegetation, as the snail is deemed an invasive species, posing a threat to local agriculture.
The exotic snail was “humanely destroyed” after it was discovered in a container yard in Brisbane, said the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday. The owners of the yard called the Department of Agriculture, which sent biosecurity officers to take care of it.
The snail was destroyed and officials found no evidence of any other snails, snail trails, or eggs.
The snail can lay as many as 1,200 eggs in a year and can live up to nine years. The species is capable of destroying crops, forests, and fruit trees.
It can eat as many as 500 different kinds of fruits, crops, native plants, and other giant African snails, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The snail can even cause structural damage to plaster and stucco, and carries a parasitic nematode that can cause meningitis in humans.
“Giant African snails are one of the world’s largest and most damaging land snails,” stated Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry acting regional manager Paul Nixon, according to the news agency.
The snail can also endure extreme temperatures and has few predators in Australia.
In 1977, Australia was forced to destroy 300 of the snails in Queensland after an outbreak.
Nixon added that the snails are also hermaphrodites, which means they can spread rapidly. “They are essentially a male-female all-in-one so they can essentially lay eggs without the need for any other snail,” he said, according to the ABC.
Nixon said the species is native to some Asian countries, but can be inadvertently transported to Australia.
“Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements and responsive system has so far kept these pests out of Australia, and we want to keep it that way,” Nixon added.
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