Invasion of the giant land snails

Customs agents seized these Giant African Land Snails at Dulles in September 2010. (Courtesy of Customs and Border Patrol)

WASHINGTON — It might sound like the plot of a bad B movie, but — strangely enough — Miami really is being invaded by giant snails.

More than 33,000 African land snails have been captured since September, officials tell the Huffington Post.

The slugs can reach up to 8 inches in length and 5 inches in diameter, and live up to nine years. They also reproduce quickly, laying up to 1,200 eggs per year.

But that’s not all. Giant snails often carry a strain of meningitis that can humans can catch. They are also said to be one of the most invasive species in the world, eating up to 500 different types of plants.

In September 2010, customs agents at Washington-Dulles International Airport seized 14 giant land snails from a man traveling to the U.S. from Ghana. They were eventually destroyed.

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