Escargot, anyone?

Achatina fulica (juvenile)

Key: R20120223-101532

Meet Achatina Fulica, AKA Giant African Land Snail.  One of the top 100 invasive species in the world.  Potential carrier of menengitis, voracious eater and destroyer of crops and ornamentals.  This one is a juvenile.  The adult snails have a height of around 7 centimetres (2.8 in), and their length can reach 20 centimetres (7.9 in) or more.

In some places in the world these are considered interesting pets, even raised in houses and classrooms.  In other areas they are raised for food, or even considered a delicacy (like escargot).  Here they are more than a nuisance.  These snails are hermaphrodites, (carrying both sperm and eggs) and can mate with any other of their species that that they come into contact with.  On rare occasions they can even self-fertilize.  They produce a prodigious amount of offspring.

So you can begin to imagine how delighted I was to find one in my yard this morning as I was letting out the dog.  I tried to give it to the chickens, but they were not interested.


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