The Caribbean island of Barbados has been invaded by giant snails the size of a humans hand over the past 5 years. Reports indicate that the giant African snails are destroying crops in their nocturnal feeding binges and can carry diseases such as meningitis. There are said to be hundreds of thousands of them across the island.
A nocturnal “snail hunt” last weekend reported finding hundreds of thousands of giant African snails swarming the central parish of St. George, the country’s agricultural heartland where farmers had complained of damage to crops including sugar cane, bananas and papayas.
“We saw snails riding on each other’s backs and moving in clusters,” said David Walrond, chairman of the local emergency response office that organized 60 volunteers for the hunt. “You’re just crunching the shells as you’re walking through.”
The volunteers sprayed government-supplied pesticides in gullies and other cool, low-lying areas where the snails are believed to breed, venturing out after dark to catch the snails as they emerge from spending the day underground. Walrond’s brigade plans to continue its assault over the next three weekends.
The snails, which are about the size of a human hand, are known to consume as many as 500 different plants and their mucous can transmit meningitis and other diseases.