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You are here: Home / Animals / Species Profiles / Giant African Snail
Species Profiles

Giant African Snail

Giant African snail

Scientific name: Lissachatina fulica (Bowdich) (CABI)
Note: A. fulica was recently redesignated Lissachatina fulica, largely on the basis of Mead's (1961) observations (Naggs, 2002).

Synonym: Achatina fulica (Bowdich 1822), formerly Férussac 1821

Common names: Giant African snail, giant African land snail, kalutara snail

Click image to enlarge


  • Escargot? More like Escar-No! (Apr 19, 2012)
    USDA. Blog.
    USDA and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have been fighting to stop the spread of the giant African snail. In six, months, more than 40,000 of these snails have been collected. Alert homeowners are the first line of defense in reporting signs of snail infestations. Please do your part in the fight against invasive species -- if you have a giant African snail or see the snails or signs of their presence, call the toll-free helpline at 888-397-1517.

  • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Identifies Giant African Land Snails in Miami-Dade County (Sep 15, 2011)
    Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
    The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has positively identified a population of Giant African land snails (GALS) in Miami-Dade County. The Giant African land snail is one of the most damaging snails in the world because they consume at least 500 different types of plants, can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco, and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans. Anyone who believes they may have seen a Giant African land snail or signs of its presence should call FDACS toll-free at 888-397-1517 to make arrangements to have the snail collected.

Selected Resources

Native To: Africa (Thiengo et al. 2007)

Date of U.S. Introduction: First introduced to Hawaii in 1936; first introduced to the continental U.S. in 1966 (Thiengo et al. 2007)

Means of Introduction: Imported as pets and for educational purposes; may also arrive accidentally in cargo (Thiengo et al. 2007)

Impact: Causes extensive damage to numerous species of plants and crops (Venette and Larson 2004)

Current U.S. Distribution:




Selected Resources:


Terrestrial Mollusc Tool - Lissachatina fulica
USDA. APHIS. PPQ. CPHST. Identification Technology Program.

Fact Sheet: Giant African Land Snail
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project.

Phytosanitary Alert System - Achatina (Lissachatina) fulica Bowdich
North American Plant Protection Organization.

Invasive Species Compendium - Lissachatina fulica
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Achatina fulica (mollusc)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Giant African Snail
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Mini Risk Assessment: Giant African Snail (Sep 2004; PDF | 416 KB)
USDA. APHIS. Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey.

Giant African Snail
USDA. APHIS. Hungry Pests.

Giant African Snail
Biosecurity New Zealand.

Exotic plant pests: Giant African snail
Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (Australia). Office of Biosecurity.
See also: Identification guide for common and exotic snails


Giant African Land Snail
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Plant Industry.

Giant African Land Snails
Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Giant African Land Snails Fact Sheet (PDF | 26 KB)
Michigan Department of Agriculture.


Introduced Species Summary Project - Giant (East) African Snail
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

Giant African Land Snail
University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Giant African Land Snail - Indiana's Most Unwanted Invasive Plant Pests
Purdue University (Indiana). Indiana Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Program.

Giant African Snail
University of Tennessee. Institute of Agriculture.


The Giant African Snail: A Problem in Economic Malacology (1961)
Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk.
Note: Complete text of the book by Albert R. Mead
(1961. Albert R. Mead. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 257 pp.)


CABI. Invasive Species Compendium. Lissachatina fulica. CAB International. [Accessed Feb 19, 2015].

Thiengo, S.C., F.A. Faraco, N.C. Salgado, R.H. Cowie, and M.A. Fernandez. 2007. Rapid spread of an invasive snail in South America: the giant African snail, Achatina fulica, in Brasil. Biological Invasions 9(6):693-702.

Venette, R.C., and M. Larson. 2004. Mini Risk Assessment: Giant African Snail, Achatina fulica Bowdich (PDF | 416 KB) USDA, APHIS, Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey.

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Last Modified: Mar 20, 2015
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