A Giant African Snail has been found and killed after it was discovered at a container yard in Brisbane, Australia.
The container yard's staff spotted the creature, then quickly reported the sighting to Department of Agriculture biosecurity officers. The snail was reportedly about the size of a baseball and was found crawling on a cement sidewalk.
The snail was humanely eliminated by biosecurity officers, who were unable to locate others like it at the scene. The officers will continue monitoring the site for one week as a precaution.
The Giant African Snail is usually found in the Asian and African regions. It is known for its voracious appetite and has decimated fruit trees, crops and forests.
"Giant African Snails are one of the world's largest and most damaging land snails," said DAFF regional manager Paul Nixon in a statement. "Australia's strict biosecurity requirements and responsive system has so far kept these pests out of Australia and we want to keep it that way."
A proliferation of this type of creature in Australia would certainly be bad news for the country. The creature has already made its presence known in Florida, a situation the U.S. Department of Agriculture describes in a blog titled "Escargot? More like Escar-no!"
"Big and slimy, the giant African snail is well-equipped to become an invasive species: they have voracious appetites, reproduce quickly, live a long time, and have no natural predators in Florida," the blog states. "...Originally from East Africa, the snail has established itself throughout the Indo-Pacific Basin, including the Hawaiian Islands, and has been introduced into the Caribbean.... When released into the environment, they can wreak major havoc on agriculture and the environment - much like what is happening in Florida right now."
A Giant African Snail can lay up to 1,200 eggs per year after one mating and can live up to nine years. Hopefully Australia will remain free of a snail invasion.