U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists have intercepted six Giant African Snails at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The live snails were discovered in the suitcase of a traveler who arrived in the U.S. from Ghana.
While kept as pets in some countries, CBP says the snails pose significant health risks to humans and the environment and are considered an invasive species. Giant African land snails are also illegal to import or possess in the United States without a permit. The snails brought to Detroit Metropolitan Airport were seized for further analysis.
“Our CBP officers and agriculture specialists work diligently to target, detect, and intercept potential threats before they have a chance to do harm to U.S. interests,” said Port Director Robert Larkin. “The discovery of this highly invasive pest truly benefits the health and wellbeing of the American people.”
Giant African Snails can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans and due to an appetite that includes at least 500 different types of plants, along with plaster and stucco, they can cause significant damage to structures and ecosystems. They are considered a prohibited organism in the U.S., though they are popular for consumption and even kept as pets in other countries.
Travelers are encouraged to learn more about current regulations before attempting to bring food items into the United States to avoid penalties, seizures, and even arrest.