Huge invasive snails found hidden in package arriving at Kentucky port, feds say

Two huge snails meant “for direct consumption” were seized at a port of entry in Kentucky, according to Customs and Border Protection officials.

The live giant African snails, which are considered invasive and significantly harmful, were discovered May 18 inside a package that arrived at the Louisville Port of Entry from Germany, officials said.

Agents found the giant gastropods during an inspection at an express consignment facility, which are specialized hubs for inspecting consignment shipments, according to the government’s website.

The snails, which can grow to about the size of an adult’s fist, are eaten in some countries and even kept as pets, CBP officials said. However, it’s illegal to bring them into the U.S.

Aside from being invasive, officials said the snails pose “significant health risks.” They’re known to carry parasitic nematodes that can sicken humans and feed on more than 500 plants as well as plaster and stucco, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The snails also have the potential to wreak havoc on the nation’s agriculture, officials said.

The pair found at the Louisville port were taken in for further analysis, according to a news release. It’s not the first time in recent months that agents have stopped the giant gastropods from being smuggled in.

In March, six giant African snails were seized from a traveler’s suitcase at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, McClatchy News reported. Another was sniffed out by a beagle at Atlanta’s airport in November.

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