Customs confiscate giant invasive snails at Detroit airport
Customs officers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport have made an unusual – and potentially dangerous – discovery in a passenger’s luggage: six giant African snails.
The snails, which were alive, were found in the suitcase of a traveler who arrived in Detroit from the West African country Ghana, according to a press release issued by US Customs and Border Protection on Friday. .
The creatures are considered a “prohibited organism” in the United States because they can cause disease in humans and can wreak significant havoc in the environment if released into the wild, according to the press release.
Despite this, people all over the world eat snails and keep them as pets in some countries.
“Our CBP officers and agriculture specialists are working diligently to target, detect and intercept potential threats before they have a chance to harm American interests,” Port Manager Robert Larkin said. in the press release. “The discovery of this highly invasive pest truly benefits the health and well-being of the American people.”
Native to East Africa, snails can grow up to 8 inches long. Giant African snails can carry a parasite called rat lungworm which causes meningitis in humans. Additionally, they eat at least 500 different types of plants and even consume house plaster and stucco as a source of calcium, which can lead to environmental damage if released into the wild, Customs and Protection said. borders.
In July, a county in Florida was placed under quarantine after authorities discovered a rapidly growing snail population. The population was thought to originate from the illegal pet trade.
A previous population of giant African snails found in Miami-Dade County took 10 years and millions of dollars to completely eradicate. Snails can produce up to 2,500 eggs per year, so the population is difficult to control.