The giant African land snail (GALS) is considered one of the top 100 invasive species in the world because each snail can lay more than 2,500 eggs a year, consume more than 500 species of plants, and is a known carrier of the rat lungworm parasite which can cause meningitis in humans and their pets.
More than seven years after the discovery of the GALS in South Florida, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has made significant progress on the road to eradicating this destructive pest. Since GALS were first detected in Southwest Miami on September 2011, the GALS Eradication Program has collected more than 168,000 snails in 31 core areas of Miami-Dade County, and one in Broward County. Through a systematic, risk-based plan of inspection and treatment the program has decreased the live population of GALS by more than 95 percent. In fact, no live snail has been detected since December of 2017. These efforts led FDACS, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), to develop a plan to decommission core areas where no live snail has been detected in more than 36 months. To date, FDACS has decommissioned 22 sites in Miami-Dade County. However, the program remains vigilant and solicits the public’s assistance in combating this pest through continued public outreach in areas throughout the State where snails have not been detected.
Program specialists will be conducting inspections for the GALS and distributing outreach material in the City of West Park starting June 24th, 2019, in its continued effort to maintain public awareness of the presence of GALS in Miami-Dade & Broward counties. The program expects this effort will continue through the summer but may be shortened or extended depending on weather and accessibility to backyards. Specialists will knock on the front door and announce their presence prior to entering into the yard. As a measure of safety, all FDACS employees wear a department ID badge which must be presented to the property owner or resident upon request.
If you suspect you have seen GALS in your yard, do not touch it. Immediately report it by contacting the Department’s toll-free helpline at 1-888-397-1517 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.