Giant Rat-Sized Snails Invade Florida

    MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 15:  Giant African land snails are seen as the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announces it has positively identified a population of the invasive species in Miami-Dade county on September 15, 2011 in Miami, Florida. The Giant African land snail is one of the most damaging snails in the world because they consume at least 500 different types of plants, can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco, and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans. An effort to eradicate the snails is being launched. The snail is one of the largest land snails in the world, growing up to eight inches in length and more than four inches in diameter.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Joe Raedle/Getty

    Florida has an invasive-species problem, and it’s not all the giant pythons in the Everglades. The state is being invaded by giant African land snails, which can grow as big as rats and chew through stucco and plaster. They breed fast. In Barbados, where they’re plentiful, their shells blow out tires on highways and their slime coats walls, according to NBC. It’s not clear how they got here, but the last invasion began when a boy brought three back as a pets. In seven years the population grew to 17,000, and it took $1 million and 10 years to eradicate them.

    Read it at NBC