Florida county quarantining after discovering invasive snails

Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 10:13 AM EDT
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(CNN) - Florida officials are warning people about a potentially serious situation involving snails.

These are not your average snails. They are Giant African land snails, which can grow up to 8 inches long.

Their size is not the problem. They can carry a parasite that causes meningitis.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a quarantine for the New Port Richey area of Pasco County in late June. That means people cannot move the snails or any plants or soil out of the area.

It will likely take three years to remove the whole snail population because they can lay up to 2,500 eggs a year.

The species is native to East Africa, but the snails likely found their way to Florida after being lost or released due to illegal pet trading.

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