I spotted this giant African land snail in the yard a few days ago, moving purposefully through the wet grass. Unfortunately, it was moving in a straight line toward one of my truck’s wheels. Since I was about to get into the truck and drive away, the snail was perilously close to getting smushed. Instead, I picked it up and moved it out of the way before driving off.
Given that the giant African land snail is an invasive species I should probably have just run it over. Next time maybe.
The rosy wolfsnail (Euglandina rosea) is a voracious predator. It devours other snails and slugs, and because of this trait, it was introduced into Hawaii in 1955 to control the numbers of invasive African land snails. Unfortunately, the African land snail grows to a very large size and, when it gets that big, the rosy wolfsnail wants nothing to do with it.
Instead, the rosy wolfsnail took a liking to the much smaller indigenous snails and proceeded to wreak havoc on their numbers. It’s now on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of the top 100 worst invasive alien species in the world.
This giant African land snail’s shell is about three inches long, but some adults grow a shell eight or more inches in length, with 7 to 9 whorls. Their size and attractive shells make these snails popular in the pet trade. In some places, the snails are used for food.
Thus endeth the positive news. On the downside, the giant African land snail is considered one of the world’s top 100 invasive species. Besides being a mighty muncher of fruits, vegetables and other vegetation, it carries pathogens damaging to a wide range of plants. It carries human pathogens, too. Oh, and it has a negative impact on native snails.
However, like most of us, it wanted no part of an ants nest, as seen in the photos in the middle and below.