17th March, 2016
The Department of Agriculture takes this opportunity to inform the general public about an imminent pest threat to the Federation. We are soliciting the cooperation and support of the general public where necessary for vigilance against this pest threat.
The Achatina fulica or “Giant African Snail” is considered one of the most invasive species in the world and it is considered by the St. Kitts Department of Agriculture as one of the most damaging species for agricultural crops, forest species and ornamental plants in the country if introduced. It is known to feed on at least 500 different species of plants including legume crops, ornamental plants, vegetables and the bark of large trees such as citrus and pawpaw. These snails are herbivores with a ferocious appetite, capable of destroying a wide variety of plants, fruits and vegetables. They also need calcium in order to ensure their shell stays very strong, so they will consume more of particular types of plants in order to get enough of the calcium they need. When they arent able to get enough calcium in their diet from plants, they may feed on carcasses, sand or small stones to get it. They also extract small amounts of water from the food they consume as well.
What the Giant African Snail looks like
Adult snails are very large with a long, narrow, cone-shaped shell. The shell is usually 50 to 100 millimetres (mm) long but can reach up to 200 mm. They can vary in colour however they are usually brown, with alternating brown and cream bands on their whorls. All adult snails have both male and female sexual organs.
Eggs are 4.5 to 5.5 mm in diameter and are cream to yellow in colour. They are oval in shape and each batch can have between 100 and 400 eggs. In a typical year, every mated adult lays about 1200 eggs.
What to look for
Adult snails can be found attached to shipping containers, machinery and motor vehicles. Sometimes, snail trails may also be seen. Eggs can be carried in soil associated with imported goods.
How to assist?
If you wish to report a suspected case, call the Department of Agriculture, La Guerite at 869 465 2335 ext 1826, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We thank you for your assistance and support in this endeavour to prevent the introduction and spread of the Giant African Snail in St. Kitts that may harm the agricultural and horticultural sectors.
N.B: The Giant African Snail is NOT known to be present in St. Kitts and Nevis.