How to identify and take care of the giant African snail

In Eldorado the first outbreak was detected at the end of April 2019 Source: Télam

In Argentina, the giant African snail was registered for the first time in 2010 in Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, and years later it was detected in the city of Corrientes, these being the only two outbreaks recognized so far.

This exotic species native to East Africa was declared by the Ministry of the Environment as harmful and detrimental to the conservation of biodiversity, productive activities and human health because it is an invasive species and host of certain types of worms, potential causes of diseases. zoonotic.

This time, Senasa personnel went to the municipality of Eldoraro in Misiones after receiving complaints about specimens of this type.

After touring the area, 15 specimens of the plague were captured to prevent its spread, on December 22, in a small stream located on San Luis street at km. 9 of the city, following a notice from a citizen. The first appearance of this specimen took place in Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, in December 2010, and then in the municipality of Wanda on April 10, 2019.

In Eldorado the first outbreak was detected at the end of April 2019, where Senasa staff together with the municipality carried out eradication, monitoring and information activities to the community.

How did you get to the country

The snail “Achatina fulica”, originally from East Africa, was introduced in America, Asia, Oceania and Europe due to the action of man, who facilitated its rapid dispersal, mainly for its breeding as food.

The dispersal was also due to the involuntary movement attached to vehicles and trucks used in crops, to their use as bait, to the trade in potted plants, where the eggs are housed, and to their trafficking as pets.

The giant African snail is considered a pest thanks to its ability to reproduce and because it can cause serious damage to tropical ecosystems and crops.

In addition to the impact it can have on agriculture and the fauna of snails in the area, it can also transmit parasites that are harmful to human health and that of other animals.

These parasites are present in the snail’s slime and can contaminate fruits and vegetables, which, if not washed properly, can cause zoonotic diseases in people.

“This type of snail can be a carrier of nematodes (parasites) that are harmful to human health. That is why it is recommended not to touch them and handle them with caution. From an environmental point of view they are also very harmful because due to their speed of reproduction and their lack of natural predators can become a pest in a very short time. And since they grow very fast and eat anything they can become a danger to crops “, explained Emilio Rey, from Senasa.

Unlike the native snail commonly known by the name “white snail”, the African can measure up to 20 centimeters and has the edge of its shell split, helical in shape and dark purple in color.

Senasa recommendations

. Do not touch snails.

. Avoid contact with snail slime (Achatina fulica), especially with eyes, nose and mouth.

. Wash vegetables with drinking water.

. If you touched the snail, wash your hands immediately. Also do it after touching the surfaces that may have been in contact with the snail slime.

. Do not eat snails.

. Do not use them as bait, pet or decoration.

. Do not use poisons against the snail, as they can affect children, pets or native fauna.

. Remove wood debris, construction materials, tiles, or anything else that could be used as shelter by the snail from the garden.

. If necessary, take the snails with waterproof gloves, place them in a bag, crush them and bury them. Gloves must also be buried or burned.

. Do not allow children to participate in the capture of snails.

. Do not transfer snails to other areas. Exercise caution when transferring plants or other household items where snails or their eggs could reside.


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