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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

PolitiFact Florida: Slimy truth about giant African land snails

3

November

Florida is now home to a slime-oozing plant-chowing snail the size of a teacup Chihuahua, and Adam Putnam wants to make sure that's temporary.

The giant African land snail can grow up to 8 inches, live nearly a decade, devour indiscriminately, lay 500 eggs at a time and snack on stucco for the calcium to build its shiny brown shell striped with cream.

Last weekend, CBS News Sunday Morning featured the snails along with other invasive species, from Illinois' Asian carp (fish) to Georgia's kudzu (plant). Southwest Miami homeowners described the "disgusting," "slithery," "juicy" pests. Putnam explained the public threat.

"With something like the snails we've got the trifecta," Putnam said. "It carries human meningitis, so people are concerned. It eats 500 different plants, so agriculture's concerned. And it eats houses, so homeowners are very concerned."

Leaf- and stucco-chomping? Check. Just ask the snails' Miami neighbors. But disease-carrying? PolitiFact Florida decided to check it out.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 3, 2011 1:15pm]

    

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