Giant African Land Snails Are Illegal in the US

Posted by Christy Caplan
Giant Land Snail

Some folks need to live with giant African land snails. I'm a chicken keeper and some would consider these little dinosaurs exotic so I'm completely aligned with anyone that wants to own an exotic animal. These seem a little out there though!

Are giant African land snails legal in the US?

For some states like Florida, giant African land snails are creating an agricultural crisis. This is an invasive species and should not live in your home! This may seem obvious but it's definitely not as we found a lot of YouTube videos like the one below where these are kept as pets.  These are illegal to be kept as pets in the U.S because they're considered an invasive species. They also grow so big, they can be up to 15 inches long. Watch this video of someone's pet snail. It's actually pretty amazing.

In fact, Change.org has a petition to make Giant African Land Snails legal in the US as pets, which is one example of those around the web who love big snails and claim they have personality like no other.

They carry a dangerous parasite!

The worst part about owning this pet? The Spruce Pets tells us that Giant African snails are believed to carry a parasite (in its slime, no less) that is responsible for a form of meningitis that is harmful to humans. The parasite is known as 'rat lungworm' and they get this from eating rat poop. 

Yes, you read that correctly.

Breed overview

It's no joke when we say they're as big as your hand! They also eat more than 500 different types of plants. What?

  • Average life span: Average life span in the wild is about ten but if one is kept as a pet they can live 5-6 years.
  • Size: They're huge, need we say more? As big as your hand or your head.

The Spruce Pets tells us,

"Achatina fulica grow to 3 or 4 inches long (shell length), and Achatina achatina can have a shell up to 11 inches long (the body inside would stretch to about 15 inches long)."

  • Diet: Veggies and fruits but they eat constantly. They also need a source of calcium for their shells (like chickens!). They may require a bowl of water.
  • Housing: We thought we'd add housing here. It needs to be cleaned a lot.

"A good-sized, well-ventilated plastic or glass tank with a secure lid is required for this species. For just a few full-grown snails, you would need a 5- to 10-gallon tank."

The tank temperature would need to be between 70 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so experts advise you to use heat strips. 

  • Common name: Giant African Land Snail, East African Land Snail, West African Land Snail, and Tiger Snail.

Health issues include mites and flies but vets won't treat them since they're illegal. They simply don't have any natural predators so owning one isn't really an option if you live here in the U.S.

Giant snails are a strange pet, right? The giant African snail is likely a pet you should just pass on. There are so many cool exotic pets that are legal in the United States so stick with one of those animals instead! They're creating a nightmare for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

These giant land snails are snuck into the country and stories about this pet trade are everywhere. We don't want a total infestation though like they have in the Miami area in agricultural areas. This species of snails cause meningitis in humans and that alone should be a reason to resist buying one.

The giant African land snail lays clutches of eggs and can lay up to 1,200 eggs at a time!

Take it from the experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, parts of the world are already having issues and this animal made the global invasive species database. This invasive snail should just hang out somewhere else!

Do you or anyone you know, live with exotic animals? Please comment below! 

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Giant African Land Snails Are Illegal in the US