Giant slugs invade western Venezuela
Western Venezuela is experiencing an invasion of African giant snails, which can transmit meningitis and crop plague, possibly due to recent heavy rains in the region.
The first “colonies” of this species of southern desert snail, Achatina fulica, were recently discovered on the shores of Lake Maracaibo in the city of the same name, capital of the state of Zulia.
Then other foci of spread appeared in other areas of this state in western Venezuela and in the neighboring state of Tachira.
Maracaibo Mayor Rafael Ramirez said yesterday that in some places “between 350 and 400 snails are collected every day”.
A mission to combat this spread in the city found more than 437 giant slugs in two hours.
The Achatina snail has attracted the interest of the cosmetics industry because its saliva can be used in some of its products, and it has been in Venezuela since 1997. It had already invaded some regions of Venezuela in 2017, but to a lesser extent, according to Jose Sandoval of Fundación Athol Impetalista.
Due to their reproductive capacity (up to 600 eggs every 15 days) and an average lifespan of up to six years, these snails are among the most invasive species that are harmful to crops and even human health as they can transmit diseases.
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