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Giant Snails Invade Florida

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the slow-doom dept.

Science 245

Edgewood_Dirk writes "First spotted in 2011, Giant African Land Snails have migrated to Florida, and are causing massive agricultural and social problems in the state. Hugely destructive to crops, the creatures themselves are dangerous, in that they are able to gnaw through stucco and plastics, will eat almost any organic material, their shells are hard enough to pop tires on the freeway and become shrapnel when run over by lawnmowers. Over a thousand are caught each week in Miami-Dade County and their numbers are only growing as more come out of hibernation. They also carry a form of rat lungworm which can cause meningitis in humans, although no human cases have been reported yet."

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245 comments

Points at Giant Snails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453417)

Hideki!

Re:Points at Giant Snails (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#43453519)

Could things be any better, here in the Sunshine state?

They eat stucco.

In just 24 short months, it is possible that South Florida returns to its native habitat.

BONUS: With the new, snail-driven housing scarcity introduced to an otherwise depressed real estate bubble, rewards are again possible for developers and speculators!

Now, mind that sinkhole. We've got a Colombian cocaine submarine to rendezvous with.

Re:Points at Giant Snails (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453977)

Would be nice if they could introduce a version that only ate kudzu. ;)

Tweeks

Re:Points at Giant Snails (2)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about a year ago | (#43454027)

Would be nice if they could introduce a version that only ate Biebers. :)

Re:Points at Giant Snails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453679)

what?

Re:Points at Giant Snails (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43453773)

He usually does cocaine when he comes down off his acid trip.

Pythons (4, Funny)

dtmos (447842) | about a year ago | (#43453419)

I'm hoping we can get the pythons to eat the snails.

Re:Pythons (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453431)

The trouble is the gorillas won't freeze in winter!

HEY, YA'LL, WATCH THIS! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#43453579)

this sounds like a job for FLORIDA MAN [twitter.com] !!!

erm, then again, maybe not...

Re:Pythons (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453443)

How about people eat them? They're fabulous dipped in some garlic butter.

Re:Pythons (2)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year ago | (#43453521)

How about people eat them? They're fabulous dipped in some garlic butter.

"They also carry a form of rat lungworm which can cause meningitis in humans"

Be my guest. Personally, I think snails are disgusting.

Re:Pythons (1)

hey! (33014) | about a year ago | (#43453567)

Not to mention pesticides people put down to control them. This is a problem with a lot of wild foods. A plant that is perfectly safe when harvested from a remote mountainside is something you'd want to give a pass if it came from the side of a highway.

Even where a pesticide is safe for use on human crops, if a specific product is not formulated for that use it may contain impurities (e.g. dioxins) that make *that formulation* unsafe for use on anything a human would eat.

Re:Pythons (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#43454115)

>Be my guest. Personally, I think snails are disgusting.

Overcome your food phobia. Snails taste delicious.
Garlic and butter are the traditional cooking medium but I had them cooked in a bacon gravy at Morel's restaurant in Vegas and they were superb.

Re:Pythons (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year ago | (#43453587)

Are you kidding?

their shells are hard enough to pop tires on the freeway and become shrapnel when run over by lawnmowers.

not even the french would attempt to eat that. what makes you think a snake would?

Re:Pythons (2)

volxdragon (1297215) | about a year ago | (#43453655)

not even the french would attempt to eat that. what makes you think a snake would?

What are YOU talking about? The French would not only eat that, they would tell you it is a delicacy while snickering under their breath!

Re:Pythons (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year ago | (#43453739)

not even the french would attempt to eat that. what makes you think a snake would?

What are YOU talking about? The French would not only eat that, they would tell you it is a delicacy while snickering under their breath!

What am I talking about? I guess I'm talking about getting rich then. I'll sell all these snails to the French and make millions overnight.

Re:Pythons (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43453927)

Go, go, escargo-dzilla?

Yea...

Re:Pythons (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43454061)

Their shells aren't that hard, they crush about as easily as any other snail it seems - as you'll find out the first time you take a step in an infested area without looking down.

I imagine it's possible to puncture a tire with their shells in the same way that you could puncture a tire with a thin piece of glass.

Re:Pythons (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year ago | (#43453811)

You don't need pythons. The lizards will prevail

what eats them? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43453421)

time to import some predators

Re:what eats them? (1)

stillnotelf (1476907) | about a year ago | (#43453459)

The Wikipedia article (first link) explains that they have no natural predators, but there is a parasite that can limit their size.

Re:what eats them? (5, Funny)

pr0nbot (313417) | about a year ago | (#43453467)

The French?

Re:what eats them? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453517)

The French?

But what will we do when the French start to run amuck?!

Why, then we get Germans!

Re:what eats them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453577)

What eats Germans?

Re:what eats them? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453699)

Russian winters.

Re:what eats them? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43454101)

Russian winters eat everybody, Germans, French even Swedes [wikipedia.org] . About the only ones able to hack it are Finns and the Russians themselves.

Hence the first rule of warfare: never invade Russia (The Art of Warfare, Sun Tzu, revised edition).

Re:what eats them? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43453551)

or Koreans. Hey... we can make Kim Jong-un a peace offering!

Re:what eats them? (0)

superdave80 (1226592) | about a year ago | (#43453965)

Well, I guess the French are bound to defeat somebody eventually...

Re:what eats them? (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | about a year ago | (#43453489)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] *people* eat them:

However, this snail is an important source of animal protein for West African forest-dwelling ethnic groups, and commercial farming of these snails holds great promise.

Re:what eats them? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43453937)

It is a pity that they carry some pretty unpleasant parasites. Generally not lethal; but classic Journal-of-Tropical-Medicine-ghastly-worms-are-burrowing-through-my-internal-organs stuff.

Re:what eats them? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43454021)

Do those worms' larva or eggs survive cooking, though? I think all it takes is making sure you cook them well and that's it. I love snails.

Re:what eats them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453497)

The French, but you need garlic and butter.

Re:what eats them? (1)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about a year ago | (#43453501)

We eat them! Problem solved.

Re:what eats them? (3, Funny)

Loki_666 (824073) | about a year ago | (#43453503)

According to an article:

The hermit crab is one of the most dangerous predators to the Achatina fulica and has been known to use the shell as its home. The coconut crab also views the Achatina fulica as a delicacy. The domesticated duck along with a vast variety of other bird species forage on Giant African Snails. Other mammals such as the wild pig prey on Achatina fulica.

Ducks... the US needs lots and lots of ducks.

Re:what eats them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453595)

Want to buy a duck? Of course it quacks....

Re:what eats them? (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | about a year ago | (#43453995)

They float, too.

America, Fuck yeah! (1)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about a year ago | (#43453675)

DUDE let's unleash a Hell-Storm of ducks and crabs on those nasty bastards! The ducks and crabs will get fat and slow, and digestively turn that nasty snail meat into delicious duck and crab meat!

I can't wait for the opportunity to use my Biden-mandated shotgun on some fat ass ducks and crabs down yonder in the Sunshine State. Booking my vacation for n+{duckDigestion && crabDigestion}*time days from now...

Re:America, Fuck yeah! (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year ago | (#43453861)

Have you eaten duck? I wouldn't describe it as delicious.... They make better decorations than food.

Re:America, Fuck yeah! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43453887)

Yes, they are wonderful roasted and fried.
The eggs are pretty decent too.

Go have some peking duck and get back to me.

Re:America, Fuck yeah! (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#43454135)

I actually greatly like the taste of duck. I just hate having to deal with the bones.

Re:what eats them? (1)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year ago | (#43453799)

Ok, but why a duck [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:what eats them? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#43453893)

Relevant: All of the predators listed are tasty and edible.

Re:what eats them? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43453529)

How are you going to get a gorilla to eat a snail?

Re:what eats them? (3, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43453591)

I hear people do in Africa but that's about it. An African guy I used to work with said that when they're cooked the smell is horrific.

They're really terrible creatures, when crushed they release eggs, their poop is profuse and a lot like epoxy glue, and of course they're quite gross themselves. Any two can reproduce together, they can easily overrun an area.

Re:what eats them? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43454047)

their poop is profuse and a lot like epoxy glue

Run a farm, pack it in tubes, sell, profit? :) And it's "all natural" of course. Because we all know that natural things are teh bestest n' green n' all.

Re:what eats them? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43454099)

I seriously think it could compete with commercial glues as-is, but as the article points out, their poop is loaded with parasites and it does still smell like poop.

Africa, home to the most terrifying creatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453449)

Australia pales in comparison to mighty Africa's collection of indigenous lifeforms that can kill you or otherwise ruin your day. Kudzu, killer bees and giant snails... What's next?

Re:Africa, home to the most terrifying creatures (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43454041)

Niggers.

Re:Africa, home to the most terrifying creatures (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | about a year ago | (#43454119)

Yes but in Australia the things that will kill you tend to hide. In Africa it's mostly apparent where the death is coming from.

The plus side... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453457)

Giant snail racing. Hell yes.

Re:The plus side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453499)

Soul Blazer FTW!

Re:The plus side... (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | about a year ago | (#43453713)

*pfhu*

And nobody gives a hoot about me and my giant bat!

Re:The plus side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453871)

And nobody gives a hoot about me and my giant bat!

Does it eat giant snails?

He's gaining on me! (5, Funny)

SomewhatRandom (1299167) | about a year ago | (#43453479)

Am I the only person that pictured an elderly retiree running from a giant snail in a slow motion chase after reading the title of the article?

Re:He's gaining on me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453523)

No, you and pretty much all your /b/rothers.

Re:He's gaining on me! (2)

andrewa (18630) | about a year ago | (#43453525)

It was an opportunity wasted in TFA.

Re:He's gaining on me! (4, Funny)

Captain Spam (66120) | about a year ago | (#43453659)

I was picturing a 1950s-era monster movie poster or trailer, myself.

"Coming this fall to a theater near YOU! They're terrible... they're horrible... they're GASTROPODS!"
"Oh no! The snails have just taken Fort Lauderdale! Hurry! We've only got a few months to evacuate before they eventually get to Miami! The airport will be moderately more busy!"
"Giant snails are invading Florida! Where did they come from? What do they want? How many more will eventually perish in the lethargic onslaught, given enough time? Find out this fall in... DAY OF THE SNAIL!"

Salt the roads? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453507)

It sounds like it's time to salt the roads in Florida.

Re:Salt the roads? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43454055)

This may be perhaps the most overlooked post of the week.

What's the problem? (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43453549)

Do they vote Republican?

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453589)

Isn't the problem, 'Do they vote Democrat?', in Florida?

Re:What's the problem? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43453597)

They would, but they're having a difficult time getting a required photo ID.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about a year ago | (#43453733)

You're kidding, they are all about gay mariage ! hermaphrodites you know !!!

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | about a year ago | (#43453775)

Problem is that they are appointed as counting officials.

How to get rid of them? (2)

loyalw (887067) | about a year ago | (#43453553)

Make it a criminal offense to eat them. They will be "poached" out of existence.

Re:How to get rid of them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453941)

J'ai vu ce que vous avez fait là.

So you are saying we shouldn't eat them?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453563)

Damn! I gotta clean out the freezer...

Escargot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453581)

In other news, local restaurants now offering great deals on all-you-can-eat escargot

On the bright side they are invading very slowly. (4, Funny)

Eldragon (163969) | about a year ago | (#43453585)

Top general Erwin Gastropod calls it Schildkrötenkrieg

Re:On the bright side they are invading very slowl (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#43453651)

Your German is perfect! Both in your grammar, and the quality of your joke.

eat your oranges! (1)

MagicM (85041) | about a year ago | (#43453631)

"If you got a ham sandwich in Jamaica or the Dominican Republic, or an orange, and you didn't eat it all and you bring it back into the States and then you discard it, at some point, things can emerge from those products," Feiber said.

Remember kids, finish your oranges just in case there are baby snails in there. Don't discard, digest!

Re:eat your oranges! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453829)

I, for one, welcome the new marketing option for Jamaican Style Ham and Snail Sandwiches.

Rename Time (5, Funny)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#43453707)

"First spotted in 2011, Giant African Land Snails have migrated to Florida..

Whoever named these things might have missed one of this species' abilities.

Re:Rename Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453915)

I guess they should be renamed African Flying Snails or maybe The African Boating Snail?

Re:Rename Time (2)

danlip (737336) | about a year ago | (#43454023)

I don't think they did it on their own :)
The wrong word in that sentence is "migrated"

Re:Rename Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43454035)

what, like flying?

Re:Rename Time (0)

geek (5680) | about a year ago | (#43454043)

Many snails actually live under water.

Mega Python vs Ultra Snail (5, Insightful)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#43453717)

At this point I say we just evacuate and wall off Florida for fifty years and then take a peek and see how natural selection works this whole mess out. I'm half serious. I realize FL is home to all of these previously foreign creatures because the creatures themselves fit the environment they have been released into despite being foreign, but they will adapt and spread in response to both fighting for resources and further climate change. Although I suppose 50 foot pythons in the sewers of New York might take care of the rat problem.

Whew! Long time no post!

Re:Mega Python vs Ultra Snail (3, Funny)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about a year ago | (#43453897)

50 foot pythons in the sewers of New York might take care of the rat problem

Might take care of congestion on the subway lines as well...

Re:Mega Python vs Ultra Snail (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#43454009)

Well played.

Re:Mega Python vs Ultra Snail (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43454049)

50 foot pythons in the sewers of New York might take care of the rat problem

Might take care of congestion on the subway lines as well...

You don't know New Yorkers very well, do you? The pythons would have to fight for a spot on a rush hour subway car, and I'm not sure the odds favor the snake.

Garlic & Butter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453719)

If someone can come up with a good recipe involving those snails, garlic, and butter, they won't stand a chance.

"Giant Snails" you say? (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year ago | (#43453723)

Wasn't that already one of those craptastic SciFi, made-for-TV movies?

News Articles are Identical (0)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#43453757)

Not that anyone on Slashdot would ever notice (I mean, who reads TFA anyway, much less TWO of them?) but the FoxNews article is almost word-for-word identical to the Reuters article. Yeah, no surprise there (mass media is amazingly lazy), but did we really have to have two links which said exactly the same thing? Well, at least the Wikipedia link had original content...

Although, for fun, try searching Google for "Snails South Florida" [google.com] and try to find a news article that /isn't/ a rehash of the Reuter's article. It sure is a slick mess!

Re:News Articles are Identical (3, Insightful)

geek (5680) | about a year ago | (#43454075)

Reuters is a news aggregate service like the AP. It's word for word because Fox, like most other news outlets, purchases the information from Reuters. Don't let your liberal bias against Fox get in the way of your retarded narrative though. I mean why let a potential flame against "the enemy" go to waste.

Fuck I'm tired of you people.

Welcome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453779)

I, for one, welcome our new giant snail overlords!

Coming soon: The Monster that Challenged the World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453785)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monster_That_Challenged_the_World

I Don't Even Know What to Make of This (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453789)

What does this quote from the article even mean?

"If you got a ham sandwich in Jamaica or the Dominican Republic, or an orange, and you didn't eat it all and you bring it back into the States and then you discard it, at some point, things can emerge from those products..."

The vagueness is truly awe inspiring.

Re:I Don't Even Know What to Make of This (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43454111)

I really wonder what kind of an agricultural disaster could emerge from a presumably safe for human consumption ham sandwich or an orange... Isn't this just government propaganda from an agency that frankly said doesn't know what to do with itself anymore?

And yet people worry about GMO crops (1)

GAATTC (870216) | about a year ago | (#43453873)

It always amazes me that people worry so much about moving one or two genes around in plants in a thought out and carefully controlled manner yet they hardly worry about the introduction of whole functional genomes (i.e. invasive species) into ecosystems. Given the clear and deleterious impacts of introduced species (as opposed to those for GMOs which are debatable at best) you would think there would be large organizations of anti-introduced genome activists.

Re:And yet people worry about GMO crops (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43454107)

It always amazes me that people worry so much about moving one or two genes around in plants in a thought out and carefully controlled manner yet they hardly worry about the introduction of whole functional genomes (i.e. invasive species) into ecosystems. Given the clear and deleterious impacts of introduced species (as opposed to those for GMOs which are debatable at best) you would think there would be large organizations of anti-introduced genome activists.

Why would you expect activists on an issue where there is virtually no counterpressure?

Accidental introductions still happen, reasonably frequently, and individual 'wildcat' introductions (usually of something that somebody thinks will be tasty and/or amusing to hunt/fish) do happen as well; but essentially nobody in anything resembling an authoritative role will even suggest a deliberate introduction in anything but the most cautious terms(and usually then only in an effort to control a prior introduction that got out of hand).

The sheer difficulty of the task, and the near-impossibility of eradicating established populations, works against the effort; but there is no activism because being against introduced species is already policy(and downright uncontroversial policy, at that).

GMOs, by contrast, have much more... effective... friends and allies, which provides their opponents with some incentive to try to push back.

Regardless of how good or bad their cause is, people rarely get worked up about things that are already going the way they want.

Ohhhh.... nooooooo..... (3, Funny)

superdave80 (1226592) | about a year ago | (#43453909)

...heeeereee.....theyyyyy...commmmmme. Ruuuuunnnnn!!!

Obammy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453939)

Obama is trying to take our giant snails

How it started? (drama) (1)

lems1 (163074) | about a year ago | (#43453949)

"Look mom, I got these 2 pet snails from our last trip to Africa"
Mom: "Oh my, throw that stuff away!"
Kid goes to nearest pond and dumps them... no natural predators around, fast-forward a few months and boooom! Huge agricultural disaster, yaddah yaddah...

our new overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43453953)

I for one welcome our new mollusk overlords.

beer is the answer (2)

shafty (81434) | about a year ago | (#43454015)

A little bowl of flat beer in the garden works well on the normal variety of snails and slugs. So to handle these monster snails just set up a few troughs of imperial stout.

The ideal pet (1)

andrewa (18630) | about a year ago | (#43454053)

I'm going to capture one and name it "Gary".

Got garlic? (1)

silviuc (676999) | about a year ago | (#43454087)

Well, do you ? :)
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