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JA farmers fear snail invasion

Regional 18 Jul, 2022 Follow News

Giant African Snails cause mass devastation

Jamaica has been placed on high alert for the fast-growing, invasive, Giant African Snail, following a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services report confirming the discovery of the plant-devouring pests in Pascoe County.

This pest is not present in Jamaica, however, it has been found throughout the Caribbean in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Netherlands Antilles, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and other relevant agencies are taking measures to minimise the risk of entry of this devastating menace.

The Giant African Snail causes serious economic damage to both the agricultural and tourism sectors by rapidly eating the stucco of buildings, vegetables, fruit trees, field crops, forest trees and ornamentals.

These snails also pose a health risk to humans and livestock because it transmits the parasite rat lungworm, which can cause meningitis. One snail can produce 500 eggs in one laying and can live up to 10 years.

The snails and eggs can spread long distances and can enter the country by deliberate introduction through the illegal pet trade, by hitchhiking on shipping containers, machinery, crates and on planting material.

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