A giant African snail has been found and "humanely" destroyed after being found crawling along at a Brisbane container yard in Australia.
- (Photo: Reuters/Ilya Naymushin)
The huge snail was spotted by staff working at the container yard, who rushed to report the sighting to Department of Agriculture biosecurity officers.
They described that the snail was about the size of a cricket ball (similar size to a baseball), and was slowly crawling along a cement sidewalk.
According to ABC, entomologists have identified it as a giant African snail, meaning that at full growth the snail could grow to about 20 cm long and weigh up to 1 kg in weight.
The giant snail is thought of as a pest and is most commonly found in the Africa and Asia regions, where it is known to ravage crops, fruit trees and forests.
Just one giant African snail can lay up to 1,200 eggs a year after a single mating, and they can live up to nine years, according to the ABC report.
The biosecurity officers attended the scene in Brisbane and humanely destroyed the snail. They have also confirmed that after a search they were unable to find any other signs of snails or eggs that may have been laid.
To be on the safe side and to protect the agriculture of the nearby region, the biosecurity officers will maintain a monitoring of the site for a week to ensure no further activity is spotted.
Acting regional manager Paul Nixon has told ABC: "They are essentially a male-female all-in-one so they can essentially lay eggs without the need for any other snail."
He added, "They can grow quite significantly but the impact for us is not so much around the growth but the extent that they can lay their eggs and breed quite prolifically."
Nixon concluded, "Giant African snails are one of the world's largest and most damaging land snails. Strict biosecurity requirements have so far kept these pests out of Australia."
Here is a video report on giant African snails: