It seems like it is every other month where we are warning our readers about a new invasive species to Central Florida. After all, with shipping and traveling vehicles reaching every corner of the Earth, people are bound to bring back species with them whether they want to or not.
Such is the case with the following invasive species:
The bottom line is that once an invasive species takes hold it is very hard to get rid of it. Case and point: In the Everglades, pythons have invaded and have been so harmful to the climate that the local government has created python catching contests complete with large rewards.
Up In North Carolina, invasive feral pigs have become such a problem that the national park service pays snipers, complete with guillie suits and silencers, to take them out, all without bothering park visitors.
Over in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County, they are reporting increasing cases of giant snails. If you have ever had a snail problem you already know how quickly and pervasive they are.
This breed of snail can produce 2,500 offspring per year each! The snail is from East Africa and is thought to have arrived by the illegal pet black market. It is illegal to own these snails in Florida.
They are dangerous to humans in that they may carry a parasite called rat lungworm. This parasite can cause eosinophilic meningitis in humans. More about rat lungworm here.
Officials are confident they can eradicate these snails though. In 2011, the same snail species invaded south Florida and the problem was resolved with very careful planning and aggressive action.