“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists are our nation’s frontline defenders against invasive plant and animal pests that threaten our agricultural resources, and they face this complex and challenging mission with extraordinary commitment and vigilance,” Marty C. Raybon, acting director of field operations for CBP’s New York field office, said in a statement.
The giant African snail consumes at least 500 types of plants and wreaks havoc on tropical and sub-tropical environments, officials said.
The snails — which produce about 1,200 eggs in a single year — also pose a health risk to humans because they carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis, officials said.
They are also known to cause structural damage to plaster and stucco structures.
The giant African snail — whose scientific name is Lissachatina fulica — was first found in southern Florida in the 1960s, and it took 10 years and $1 million to eradicate it, according to the USDA.