Giant African land snails : pests not pets
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Giant African land snails : pests not pets

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    Monday, May 17, 2004, 11:10 EDT (11:10 AM EDT)


    Recent media reports have noted that giant African land snails (Achatina spp), also referred to as GALS, have become pets in the United States. These snails are major agricultural pests and could pose a public health threat if infected with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis, the rat lung worm.

    These snails, which can be larger than a person's hand, reproduce rapidly and have ravenous appetites for agricultural crops. Importation is illegal. For more information, including what to do if you own any of these snails, go to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Animal and Plant Infection Service website. A toll-free number will be posted early next week so that people who have these snails can arrange without penalty to have them removed from their premises. USDA does not recommend that people dispose of them.

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