Escargot in cargo: Invasive giant African snails detected more than 28 times at borders


Australian biosecurity officers are alarmed by a boost in invasive 20-centimetre-long snails obstructed at the border checkpoints.

The giant African snail is among the world’s worst invasive insects and was detected 28 times in 2015 and 3 times in the previous month at various places throughout the nation.

Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer, Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, stated the snails were hitching flights mainly on freight ships showing up from Asia and the Pacific.

“The increased interceptions suggest the pest pressure at our border is greater,” she stated.

Giant African snails are high up on Australia’s “least wanted” insects list.(Supplied: Dr Jessica Lye, Cesar Australia)

Voracious hunger for plants

The giant snails are rarely detected on freight containers gave Australia from overseas, however Dr Vivian-Smith stated the increasing variety of detections might be a sign of the pandemic.

“There has been a bit of disruption and change in terms of container movement patterns and the ability of countries to apply their normal inspection protocols as well, and that is possibly one reason why we’re seeing an increase,” she stated.

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The giant snails are among Australia’s least desired insects, sitting at 12 on the nationwide top priority plant bug list, according to Dr Vivian-Smith.

That is since it has a ravenous hunger for more than 500 plant types, varying from vegetables and fruit to decorative and native plants.

An attack would have a serious influence on farms and natural communities if it were to develop itself in Australia.

A Giant African Snail attached to a red apple.
The snail has a large hunger.(Supplied: Ausveg)

Australia’s least desired

AusVeg biosecurity officer Madeline Quirk stated it was a considerable issue for Australia’s horticultural markets.

“It will feed on the stem, leaf, flowers and fruit, sometimes destroying the entire plant,” she stated.

Ms Quirk stated the giant snails had actually likewise been imported intentionally and unlawfully for usage as medication or food and to be kept as animals.

She stated farmers and the neighborhood at big required to stay watchful about this biosecurity risk.

“It’s very important for industry to be aware of the pest, because the more eyes we have on the ground the better we can be at detecting this pest quickly before it can cause issues,” Ms Quirk stated.

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