Here is a looking into the Giant African Snail (Achatina) History, some interesting facts, photos of its Appearance and a lot more details. How often does a person consider himself smarter than the Lord God and mother nature! He undertakes to turn back the rivers, drain swamps and transfer animals to new habitats. Often such activity causes nature, and ultimately the people themselves, terrible harm, sometimes irreparable.
Giant African Snail – Strange creatures
The appearance of a giant African snail is very unusual: it resembles a certain reasonable life form from a science fiction film. Perhaps it was appearance and size that became the reason for the popularity of Achatina – they are happy to keep them at home as pets.
The dimensions of Achatina are really outstanding – there are specimens with a body size of about 30 centimeters, and even a shell of 15-20 centimeters!
Achatina is recognized as a very invasive species of mollusks. This means that the creature easily takes root in a new habitat, sometimes causing irreparable harm to the existence of local plants and animals.
African snails are pests, they literally destroy agricultural plants, especially sugarcane. Currently, in a number of countries quarantine has been introduced for the import of Achatina, thanks to which it has been possible to stop their rapid settlement across the planet.
A striking example of the nearly accidental snail of an environmental disaster was the US state of Florida.
African Snail Achatina – Insidious guests
The first Achatina appeared in Florida in the middle of the last century. Perhaps they first came here as pets or along with fruits imported into the country. One way or another, but the nature and climate of Florida really liked the African snails, and they willingly began to live and breed in a new place.
Hundreds of cultivated and wild plants are suitable for insidious guests, so they did not experience a shortage of food. Cases are described when Akhatins ate veneer plaster from the walls of buildings. Chalk is necessary for snails to build a shell, why not bite it with stucco?
Akhatins are hermaphrodites who choose sex “of their own free will”, which means that for reproduction they only need to meet at least one representative of their own species. The snail lays thousands of eggs at a time, and the survival rate of small Achatina is very good.
If at first it was possible to prevent the expansion of snails, then in 2011 there was another “attempt to invade and seize power”. A special commission has been set up by the state government to develop a pest management strategy. Snails had to be collected by hand, since the use of pesticides in the city was problematic, and pesticides could kill rare harmless species of local snails.
Nevertheless, in 2014, Florida ecologists celebrated the victory: they managed to cope with the invasion of African snails. It turned out that it was too early to rejoice: in 2015, the snails returned. It turned out. However, that they did not go anywhere. In a Florida suburb, volunteers discovered an abandoned house in which thousands of Achatina lived! And soon there were calls from frightened local residents about the appearance of Achatina in the city, suburbs and farms.
Now the number of African snails in Florida can be controlled. Happiness is also that, being pests, they do not pose a danger to humans, do not tolerate infections and parasites. There are a lot of examples of “invasions” of living creatures in new territories, and man was always the cause of trouble:
A classic case of populating a territory with a new, unusual animal species is the spread of a wild Dingo dog in Australia. A few millennia ago, settlers from Asia brought it. A pet in a new, favorable place very quickly bred and created a wild population. The absence of natural enemies led to the fact that Dingo was practically supplanted and destroyed the largest marsupial predator – marsupial wolf and many other animal species.
The disasters of the Australian endemic fauna did not end there: white settlers brought rabbits here. Which, yes, also bred and became an excellent fodder for Dingo, but destroyed almost all the grass on the already scarce Australian soil. All attempts to fight fluffy rodents ended in failure and led to even more serious consequences.
On the island of Tasmania, foxes brought there pose a serious danger to a rare beast, a marsupial devil, which is already on the verge of extinction.