Invasive giant African snails found by inspectors at airport in man’s luggage
By The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)
Tribune Content Agency|
Apr 09, 2021 at 8:31 AM
QUEENS, N.Y. — Federal inspectors found a surprise Sunday at John F. Kennedy International Airport when they inspected a man’s baggage: 22 Giant African snails.
Federal agriculture specialists found the snails during a baggage examination of a U.S. man who arrived on a flight from Ghana, according to a news release Tuesday from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The African snails are one of the most damaging snails in the world because they consume at least 500 types of plants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The snails can also cause damage to plaster and stucco structures.
The snails can spread fast because they reproduce quickly, producing about 1,200 eggs in a single year.
The snails also pose a serious health risk to humans because they carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis.
The snails were first found in southern Florida in the 1960s, and it took 10 years and $1 million to eradicate them, according to the USDA. The snails were reintroduced in Miami in September 2011.
What you can’t bring into the U.S.
Oftentimes, travelers learn during their CBP arrivals inspection that something they purchased or collected overseas is prohibited from entering the United States.
During a typical day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 3,091 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproducts and soil, and intercepted 250 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry.