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Are there Giant African Snails in SVG?

Are there Giant African Snails  in SVG?


Over the past few weeks, several persons have been voicing their concern over an apparent surge in the snail population in St. Vincent, which has resulted in some damage to personal backyard crops.{{more}}

Given the infestation that neighbouring Barbados has suffered, the question on most people’s lips is obvious – has the Giant African Snail reached the shores of St. Vincent and the Grenadines?

Several radio call-in shows, such as “Shake Up” hosted by Joseph Burns Bonadie, have received calls from perplexed citizens complaining about snail infestation on their properties. However, they did not identify the snails as being of the African Snail variety.

When SEARCHLIGHT contacted the Plant Protection Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, a representative, Hafeezer James, confirmed that the unit has been receiving several complaints of snail infestation. However, she said she was authorized to state that the Giant African Snail is not present in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

James encouraged people to report any snails found to the Plant Protection Unit on 457-1283, and assured that an officer would be dispatched to verify the species.

The Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) is native to East Africa and is the largest known land snail – growing to lengths up to 30 cm. Its shell has a conical shape, which is highly variable in colour, but predominantly brown and banded. The Giant African Snail is a simultaneous hermaphrodite, possessing both testes and ovaries. Self-fertilization is rare but highly possible.

The Giant African Snail first appeared in Barbados five years ago, and has since been wreaking havoc on crops of fruit and vegetables in the parish of St George, which is at the heart of the island’s agricultural sector. (JSV)