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If it isn't one thing...

Whilst googling around for info for a list of problems SoCal doesn't have, came across this problem which I sincerely hope we don't get.  Poor Florida!

Florida fights stucco-eating African snails

Entomologist Trevor Smith talks about Florida's battle with an invader that has an appetite for plants – and stucco.

An epic battle is raging in South Florida: man against snail.

The state is struggling to contain an invasion of the giant African land snail, a species that thrives in hot and wet tropical climates. These gooey and destructive mollusks grow up to 8.5 inches long, feast on 500 different types of plants and nibble on calcium-rich stucco, which they use to construct their cone-shaped shells.

The snails are originally from East Africa but can now be found throughout the world. Aside from destroying plants and buildings, they can also be carriers of a type of meningitis.

Trevor Smith, an entomologist, is leading the eradication effort for Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He spoke with The Times about the slimy invaders.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2013 11:24 pm (UTC)
according to the news last night, it turns out that they *aren't* African snails, just incredibly huge native ones.
May. 11th, 2013 12:09 am (UTC)
So Miami-Dade County has giant native stucco-eating snails!? Oh my...
May. 11th, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, well, that's better ... not.
May. 10th, 2013 11:59 pm (UTC)
Probably too dry here for them, plus in the winter it often drops below freezing.
May. 11th, 2013 12:10 am (UTC)
The freezing part could do it - help dry them out if nothing else, operculum or not. Do you have Helix snails locally?
May. 11th, 2013 03:25 am (UTC)
Dunno. Are Helix snails the ugly brown ones that eat everything and come out when it rains? Then yes, we do.
May. 12th, 2013 04:09 am (UTC)
These guys:

They're the ones that some brilliant soul imported from France for eating purposes (they are tasty cooked with garlic butter - then again, what isn't?) that got loose and spread to infest gardens all over the US including mine. Not really ugly, just a confirmed nuisance. Mostly they don't bother me as they're interesting to watch and I don't usually grow things they want to eat (I recall once finding HALF of a mint leaf which I suspect came as a spicy surprise to one.) If they start eating the stucco though, it's Total War!
May. 17th, 2013 06:33 pm (UTC)
WANT. With garlic butter. Why can't these guys be near enough to me so that I could help eradicate the problem in my sautee pan?
May. 18th, 2013 03:42 am (UTC)
Where DO you live that Helix snails don't go? FWIW it takes a bit more than that - you have to keep them contained for a few weeks and feed them stuff you know doesn't make for bad flavors or poison (*I* don't put poison in my garden - I intend to eat that fruit - but I can't be sure where the snails have been and I'm sure some of the neighbors use weedkillers, poisons et al.) I prefer to buy them in cans - usually the contents are larger and all I have to do is cook and eat them. Generally in mushroom caps - the shells may look more impressive, but you can EAT the mushroom caps...
May. 19th, 2013 12:21 am (UTC)
I dislike canned/tinned snails. They taste canned, and it is not very nice compared to fresh. I used to do heliculture and collection when I lived on the West Coast, but here in Raleigh I can not find any Helix species extant and must be content with the just as delicious but much harder to prepare and clean brown leopard slug (Limax maximus).

I envy people snails in their garden. Sadly I have none and neither does anyone else I know, or I would be harvesting happily.
May. 19th, 2013 05:54 am (UTC)
Ah well, if they ever invade you'll be ready... :) Hmm, wonder if banana slugs are edible. Anybody here from UC Santa Cruz?

Raleigh North Carolina, perchance?
May. 19th, 2013 08:53 am (UTC)
Gastropod Gastronomy
Ah, so they are edible. I guess if you collect them in the wild, you can be fairly certain they haven't been chowing down on weedkiller and sub-lethal doses of Snarol, thus no need to hang onto them long enough to purge them before killing and cleaning. That about the way you prepare your local slugs?
May. 19th, 2013 04:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Gastropod Gastronomy
Sorry for butting in here, but I'm the author of that slug recipe just posted.
Actually - NO - you can't just eat wild slugs/snails without cleaning/purging them first. There exist all sorts of dangers in their wild diet, not the least of which are dog poop (which can carry very harmful bacteria and other organisms), and poisonous mushrooms. These things don't harm slugs and snails, but they can kill a human.

Also, you do need to make sure you cook them thoroughly, to kill the dangerous parasites that often inhabit them.

And finally, check your species carefully. There are various toxic species, including black arions, which are the most common garden type in my area. As I noted in my blog post, the indigenous banana slugs are not only rarely found in gardens, but also being pushed out by the invasive types.
May. 19th, 2013 08:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Gastropod Gastronomy
Hi! Welcome to the discussion, and thanks for the clarification - it did look like you'd prepared them the day you caught them. When Mom fixed Helix snails she fed them on oatmeal or something (I don't recall precisely) for a few weeks first to purge them. Then, yes, cooked carefully for precisely the reason you name.

It does seem a pity Gresham's Law appears to apply to so MANY things one would like to keep...
May. 20th, 2013 12:15 am (UTC)
Re: Gastropod Gastronomy
Yes, if they are collected in an area that may have pesticides. No if they are collected in a wild area, because slugs are a giant PITA to clean due to the very bitter liver regardless of how well they are purged, or not. It doesn't help nearly as much as it does with snails.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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