Thursday, February 16, 2012

Creature Feature: Giant Ghana Snail.

Normally, there is nothing remotely threatening about snails. Sure, they're slimy and have weird little antennae, but it's not like most snails would make good movie monsters. They have pretty shells and are too slow to be really intimidating. WALK FOR YOUR LIVES!

Actually, wait. That's...kinda terrifying, especially for a snail.

The giant Ghana snail, or, alternatively, giant tiger land snail, is exactly what its name says it is: a giant, terrestrial snail native to western Africa. It just so happens to sport a very attractive shell. It eats any number of plants. Very, very slowly. Luckily, they mean humans no harm.

How big is big? Since slugs are a bit hard to measure, scientists usually measure shell length/diameter. The largest shell ever found was roughly 30 cm long. Average length is around 18 centimeters. Use a converter if you like, but what you really need to know is this:

Did we mention that these are spreading around the world's humid regions? They make decent pets, but, if unleashed, can feed on over 500 different types of plants. They also breed like crazy. They are  frequently quarantined, but have not yet been established in the U.S. Florida is slowly developing a population, but they are not as big a problem as, say, Burmese pythons. India has it much worse; salting the snails is a daily occurrence.

The snails are, however, found almost solely in hot, humid areas - i.e. FLORIDA, the country's magnet for invasive species. French restaurants ought to be rejoicing. Everyone else...not so much.


  1. I've done battle with escargot in gardens in California. This is a horror. But a very beautiful one.

    1. These same snails, or another one?

    2. The one imported from France to be served in restaurants and, of course, escaped into the wild is the one I did battle with. They're everywhere. If the Ghana snail propagates like the escargot snail (sorry, I don't know it's proper name) There could possibly be some major changes in gardening.
      After some further thought, I wondered if it would be possible to create a garden specifically for the Ghana snail. That would be interesting.