The Loh Down On Science

Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes. Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

Giant Invasion

by The Loh Down On Science

SOS! Predators are coming! Run! Walk! Crawl?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Forget alligators. In Florida, it’s giant African land snails who are terrorizing the land!

At least, they've reached number one on the agriculture department’s Most Wanted list.

Why? The pesky mollusks are voracious eaters. They chow on 500 different types of plants and if still hungry, building stucco! (Okay, they don’t eat it, they just damage it.)

They can also carry a parasite that causes meningitis, making them a risk to human health. So eating raw or undercooked snails could pass the parasite along, as well as salmonella and other bacteria. 

The super-snails grow to eight inches long and six inches around. They also carry both male and female reproductive systems, making them scarily efficient reproducers. 

But efforts to cull the species from the area have literally been moving at a snail's pace. Despite being illegal in the U.S., people smuggle them in to have as pets.

Currently, these escargot have no known natural predator. Could be time to call the French Chef! 

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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