An invasive species is catching the attention of the whole state. It’s the first time someone has found the horntail snail in the U.S., and it was found in Miami-Dade County.
The snail has the potential of hurting people and plants.
From basil and cilantro to radish and cabbage, C & B Farms in Clewiston has a little bit of everything. When it comes to caring for those crops, “We’ve been fighting invasive species forever, I guess,” said Chuck Obern, president.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) said the horntail snail can feed on a variety of crops and even be an intermediate host to rat lungworm, which can cause meningitis in people.
“There are a lot of species that are invasive that come in and they cause severe disruption to the ecology, but then there’s other species that come in and they cause real severe disruption to the economy,” said Dr. Billy Gunnels, an associate professor in biological sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University.
He’s concerned the snail could do both.
“We have a tremendous number of individuals down here in South Florida and in particular, we have constant movement of people, commercial goods, agricultural goods in and out of the state.”
So, if you come across a snail, look for a dime-size amber-colored shell with a horn at the tip of its snail.
“There are 28 million people in Florida. There’s every possibility that someone could come across a snail with a little protrusion,” Gunnels said.
The state will keep an eye on the threat and work to stop it from spreading to other parts of Florida.
If you do happen to see one of these snails, Gunnels recommends you report it to the FDACS Division of Plant Industry.