One of the largest and most damaging species of snail was recently discovered in New York, and the dangers it poses goes far beyond the effects on plants and property.

The discovery is a frustrating addition to the large group of invasive species already present in New York State. From the aggressive "Frankenfish" that can breathe air and eats mammals to the crustacean the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) urges residents to immediately freeze to death, it's a wild world out there. But back to the snail...

Photo of a New York police officer holding a giant African land snail
A giant African land snail, a prohibited and invasive species, was recently discovered in New York (NYS DEC via Facebook)

Giant African Land Snail Recently Found in New York State

The giant African land snail is an invasive species that was first introduced to the United States in Hawaii in the 1930s. The next appearance wasn't until the 1960s, when it cost the state of Florida roughly $1 million to get rid of the infestation. Now it's been found in Brooklyn, NY.

Photos of giant African land Snails
Many giant African land snails carry a parasite that can transmit meningitis to humans (NYS DEC/cribea via Canva)

Invasive Giant Snail Has Deadly Consequences

The list of reasons why the snail is not welcome in New York is long. Not only do they  eat hundreds of different plants and cause damage to building exteriors, but the snail also poses a serious health risk to humans. The giant African land snail often carries small parasitic worms called nematodes that can transmit deadly meningitis.

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is a potentially fatal disease involving inflammation of the spinal cord and brain that is recognized as a "major global public-health challenge" by the World Health Organization (WHO). While the greatest danger is posed to children, meningitis can be deadly to anybody without proper treatment.

Read More: The ‘Beautiful but Invasive’ Tree Causing Problems in New York 

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New Yorkers who believe they also found a giant snail (described as any snail with a shell greater than two inches) are encouraged to contact the NYS DEC, Cornell Cooperative Extension, or United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offices. Check out more invasive species below.

New York State's Invasive Plants To Be On The Lookout For

These seven invasive plants have become a nuisance to the wildlife and people living in New York State. Learn more about them and how to remove them at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation here.

Watch Out For These 5 Dangerous Invasive Pests In New York State

Gallery Credit: Yasmin Young