67 Live giant African snails confiscated at Los Angeles International Airport

By Kyle Johnson,

Los Angeles International Airport inspectors found themselves faced with an unusual sight: 67 living giant African snails in a package headed for someone in San Dimas.

The snails were seized on July 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Lee Harty told The Associated Press. The package originated from Nigeria.

The giant snails, which live about 10 years and grow to be nearly 8 inches long, are a prohibited species in the United States, meaning that after a federal mollusk specialist identified they were indeed giant African snails, they were incinerated.

The mollusks pose both a hazard for people and agriculture. Harty said they are known to carry parasites, which can leave humans with meningitis and CBP program manager for agriculture Maveeda Mirza said they "will eat any kind of crop they can get to."

According to BBC News, the snails are considered a delicacy in West Africa, with a six-person meal costing $50 in Nigeria.

Mirza was surprised by the large number, noting that this was unusual. She noted that most often a couple are discovered having accidentally gotten into luggage.



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