According to legend, a young boy went on vacation with his family back in the 1960s, and returned home from the trip with a few tiny snails he had taken a liking to. Unbeknownst to the boy, or his family, the snails were actually baby versions of giant African land snails, which grow to sizes of up to a foot long, weighing in at one full pound. Hawaii had been battling the giant creatures for years, and the boy unwittingly caused an invasion of the snails in his home state of Florida, which it took the state seven years to eradicate. But is it bigger than the giant weta which some have claimed to be the biggest bug in the world?
According to Wired, the foot-long snails are back with a vengeance, and this whole story gets even weirder when you hear who's to blame for the invasion this time around; voodoo practitioners.
Yep, according to biologist Robert Cowie, from the University of Hawaii, "bizarre, voodoo-like religious proceedings" are potentially the cause of Florida's most recent battle with the mega-snails. Believe it or not, the slime of the giant snails is highly sought after by certain people, who believe that it has healing powers. A year before this latest outbreak, a man reportedly sliced open one of the snails and had his followers drink the fluids inside, which ended up making them very ill.
African land snails reproduce at rapid rates, and over 137,000 of them have been collected in Florida in just the last couple years. What's the problem, other than them being gross to look at? The snails not only eat and destroy important plants in the area, but they also have a fondness for stucco, and have been known to chow down on the exteriors of homes that are coated with it.
Giant house-eating snails... remind me not to move to Florida in my twilight years, will ya?!