Florida plays the unfortunate host to many invasive critters, from lionfish to Burmese pythons, but last week, officials announced that they had successfully eliminated a particularly slimy invader from the state: the formidable giant African land snail.
The snails first arrived in South Florida in 1966, when a child brought three of the creatures to the area from Hawaii, where they’re also invasive, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The state had quashed the invasion by 1975, but in 2011, a new wave of these snails suddenly surged. Smith said it’s unclear exactly where the new snails came from, the Sun-Sentinel reported. That said, a recent state investigation suggested that, in 2010, a religious cult had snuck dozens of the snails into Florida from Nigeria for use in healing rituals, according to the Tampa Bay Times. But the snails may have also been imported unintentionally on cargo planes or ships, Fried said at the news conference.