Invasive Giant African Snail Discovered In Luggage At Atlanta Airport

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Bringing home souvenirs after an exciting vacation away is one of the best ways to hold on to some of the memories made along your journey. While some souvenirs, such as postcards and T-shirts, have managed to stand the test of time, others are a bit more controversial. One traveler at an Atlanta airport learned this the hard way after an unexpected passenger was found inside her luggage.

Customs and Border Patrol agriculture specialists and an alert Beagle at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were screening a passenger's luggage when the canine, named Mox, let handlers know that something was off about the cargo, according to WLTX. As CBP continued their inspection, they found prohibited goat meat, cow skins, melon seeds and vegetables from the passenger's trip to Nigeria. Additionally, they found a live Giant African Snail.

It appears the traveler was unaware that her souvenirs weren't allowed in the U.S., as CBP informed her that the items, particularly the Giant African Snail, were prohibited before she was allowed to continue her journey to Texas.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Giant African Snails are highly invasive and considered to be one of the most damaging snails in the world as they consume at least 500 different types of plants. In addition to the harm they can cause the environment, they also pose a health risk for humans due to a parasitic nematode it carries that could cause meningitis.

Giant African Snails have been found in the U.S. twice since the 1960s, both times in Florida, and it ultimately took 10 years to eradicate the the animal.

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