Monday, August 15, 2022

African giant snail invades Cuba


Zain Zubair
Zain Zubair is a staff writer for World News Observer. He is studying ACCA in Pakistan. Besides Accountancy and writing pieces, he loves cooking and nature photography. Zain has attended various modern journalism workshops. Contact: [email protected]

Cuba is currently experiencing a veritable plague of both health and environmental nature: an invasion of African giant snails capable of transmitting diseases that are nothing short of dangerous.

It is the specia Achatina fulica, also called giant African snail, included in the list of the 100 most harmful invasive species in the world.

Apparently it is not clear how this shellfish came to Havana and the neighboring provinces of Cuba, the fact is that the situation seems to have gotten out of hand.

The Achatina fulica have a brownish body up to 20 cm long with shiny and spiral-shaped streaks and its mouth parts are composed of the radula, a sort of grater capable of deeply scraping.

They feed on vegetables, fruit and waste, thus damaging agriculture but, above all, they are able to transmit two serious pathologies such as meningoencephalitis, a rather dangerous brain infection, and angiostrongyliasis, a serious intestinal disorder caused by nematodes transported and transmitted by snails.

The state has unleashed civil protection and health but, despite this, there are serious difficulties in containing the infestation.

Introducing predators to stem the problem is, at the moment, impossible as natural predators of these snails are still unknown.

Civilians, according to the instructions of the authorities, can only collect them with gloves, insert them in containers and destroy them, but this is obviously not enough, the invasion is too extensive.

Already in 2012 Achatina fulica had made its appearance in other South American countries such as Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, the same can be said for Florida.

In East Asia, then, there have been countless cases of people being infected as they used to eat these raw snails.

Read also: Emperor Penguin disappears significantly from Antarctic Halley bay

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