Calm thy panicked hearts, residents of Texas – the giant, sometimes deadly, don’t-ever-pick-it-up African Land Snail is apparently not coming (slowly) for you and your family.
Media reports days ago exploded over news that a Houston woman had found one of the invasive snails in her garden. She snapped a photo, notified workers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (who deal with invasive organisms), and — they apparently misidentified it.
“We have no reason to believe there are any giant African snails in Texas,” Tanya Espinosa, public affairs specialist at U.S. Department of Agriculture, told the Daily News. According to Espinosa, the snail photographed is actually the “rosy wolf” – common throughout the American South and easily confused with it’s African counterpart.
So while Texans can breathe easier, Florida is already drawing battle lines. The Giant African Land Snail has already set up shop in the sunshine state – with more than 1,000 caught every week. Not only can they grow to the size of a rat, chew through stucco and plaster, and devour more than 500 different plants – but they also carry rat lungworm, which the Centers for Disease Control said is the most common cause of human eosinophilic meningitis.
“We are winning, but it won’t be a short-term effort,” Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industry Director Richard Gaskalla told WPLG.
Between this, hurricanes, and mega-mosquitoes the size the quarters, it might be a good time to consider relocating. Just don’t go to Texas. It’s only a matter of time before these hungry parasite-carrying monsters slowly slime their way along the Gulf Coast.