We admit to being taken aback when we saw the Clearwater Patch run a story with the following headline: Will Rat Sized Snails Invade Clearwater? At first we thought we were looking at the headline of some sort of local B movie.
In reality, The Patch was referring to giant land snails, an invasive species which is causing some major problems here in Florida.
These snails are quite the menace. They’ll eat just about anything.
They’ll eat paint, plaster, and stucco right off of your house. They’ll eat your garden plants. They’ll eat your fence.
Their shells can grow as large as a half a foot wide, which means they’ve been known to blow out car tires when someone runs over them. Lawnmowers can turn them into a mess of disgusting and even dangerous shrapnel.
They also leave enormous disgusting slime trails, which is one of the signs that the Department of Agriculture uses to determine whether or not they’re around.
Unfortunately, giant land snails reproduce incredibly fast. A single female snail can lay as many as 1200 eggs each year. That’s why there are hundreds of thousands of them in the area. They’re more prevalent in Miami, but they’re here in the Tampa Bay area, too.
When you see these snails do not touch them yourself, and don’t let your kids touch them or play with them either. If you must move them for some reason make sure you’re wearing latex gloves. They spread meningitis.
It’s best to simply call the Department of Agriculture at 1-888-397-1517. They’ll round them up for you and get rid of them.
This video will show you what they look like and will offer more details:
The Florida Department of Agriculture has also released a giant land snail ID sheet.
We are a gutter contractor serving Homossassa, Ocala, and the rest of the Tampa Bay Area. Call us for a free estimate if your gutters need cleaning, repair, leaf guards or replacement.