State officials placed part of a Florida city under quarantine Tuesday as they race to eradicate the invasive, parasite-carrying giant African snail.
The 3.5-mile section of Miramar in Broward County — located just 11 miles west of Hollywood — will be covered in a metaldehyde-based molluscicide to exterminate any giant African snails after at least one was found in the area earlier this month.
Residents will be able to move out of the treatment area freely but are prevented from moving any plant-based supplies that could harbor the mammoth mollusk’s eggs.
“Under the quarantine, it is unlawful to move a giant African land snail or a regulated article, including, but not limited to, plants, plant parts, plants in soil, soil, yard waste, debris, compost or building materials, within, through or from the defined quarantine area without a compliance agreement,” the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced.
The agency confirmed that a giant African snail — which can stretch up to 8 inches long — was spotted in the area in June, prompting an increased survey.
Giant African snails have been deemed “one of the most damaging snails in the world” for their threat to both agriculture and human life.
The snails carry the frightfully named rat lungworm parasite that can induce meningitis in humans.
They are also capable of ravaging vegetation and are known to dine on more than 500 types of plants.
The mollusks can produce up to 1,200 eggs a year.
Florida has twice before eradicated the snail since first discovering it in 2010 — most recently a 10-year effort in Miami-Dade County that cost $23 million and ended in 2021 after the collection of about 170,000 snails.
The Broward County quarantine is the third to be put into effect in Florida in the last year.
A swath of the west coast’s Lee County was quarantined following the massive mollusk’s detection in December, just six months after Pasco County suffered the same affliction.