Twitter user’s photo of a giant african snail goes viral
Posted July 26
Popular tweeter madds shared a hilarious photo on Twitter on July 23, and it’s since been retweeted over 44,000 times. “Please. My rabbit. He’s very sick,” she wrote. Except it wasn’t a rabbit. It was a giant African land snail. Are you freaked out yet? Are you a little nervous to go to sleep tonight, scared you’ll have nightmares about gigantic snails? Here, take a look at the tweet:
Please. My rabbit. He's very sick. pic.twitter.com/MSejV0hvtn
- madds (@whatmaddness) July 23, 2017
Hard to look away, right? That’s probably because the rabbit-snail is equal parts strange, horrifying, fascinating…and maybe even a tiny bit cute? Maybe?
So what actually is this thing? Turns out it’s a giant African land snail, one of the largest mollusks that exists. They’re nocturnal and live about five to seven years, often growing to more than a pound. This type of snail eats more than 500 plant species. Some people even keep them as pets, like YouTuber Emzotic:
Originally native to Africa, they’re now found all over the world, especially in hot and humid environments.
Interestingly, the snails are actually banned in the U.S., as they’re considered a “serious pest.” According to the United States Department of Agriculture website, giant African land snails first came to the U.S. back in the ’60s, when a south Florida boy smuggled in three snails after a trip to Hawaii. Within seven years, there were more than 18,000 snails in Florida. Hence the pest problem-these snails multiply like crazy!
American officials are committed to keeping Giant African land sails off of U.S. soil as, in addition to being considered agricultural pests, they’re also seen as a threat to public health. They often carry parasites, like the scary-sounding and truly dangerous rat lungworm parasite.
Giant African land snails continue to be a problem in some areas, including in Florida, where officials have classified them as an “invasive species.” Back in 2014, 67 of the huge gastropods were seized at the airport in Los Angeles after a flight from Nigeria.
So if you see a Giant African land snail in the wild, it’s probably a good idea to alert your local authorities.
Still, we can enjoy the amusing photos of these crazy-looking animals. At least until it’s time for bed…