Dogs Battle The African Giant Land Snail
The giant African land snail is continuing its invasion of south Florida, carrying with it disease and agricultural devastation. This snail is extremely large and slimy, and can reproduce quickly. Over the last three years, giant African land snails, or GALS for short, have reached epidemic population levels, causing damage to lawns and homes all over Florida. Thus, government officials are taking action using a new control method: dogs.
Can Snail-Sniffing Dogs Be the Answer?
GALS eat upward to 500 different plants, causing economical and environmental damage in their wake. They also carry a parasite that causes meningitis, and without human intervention, they could become a serious threat to society.
Specially-trained dogs have now been released, under supervision, to sniff out the snails. Nearly 140,000 snails have been captured and are currently being studied in an effort to find out how to control them. The dogs have been trained to identify smells particular to GALS, and to catch, rather than kill the snails, mainly because the snails may harbor diseases that could threaten the dogs’ health.
How to Combat Snails
GALS can produce anywhere from 100 to 300 offspring per month, so homeowners are especially advised to treat snail issues as soon as they are noticed. If you discover a giant African land snail in your backyard, contact local authorities immediately so that they can catch it, and then study and test it.
A minor snail problem may be remedied by a professional pest control company. Always seek advice for controlling snails in the garden or the home, especially if you may need to use pesticides around food or humans. Traps can also be set in and around the home; most pest control companies can advise you regarding the right traps and methods for controlling these slimy, invasive pests.