|Posted on February 27, 2012 at 8:55 PM|
GIANT GHANA SNAIL - BIGGER THAN YOU THOUGHT!
The Giant Ghana Snail, or Giant Tiger Land Snail is one of the few species that truly lives up to its name. With a shell that commonly grows to a length of 7 inches (18 centimeters) and a diameter of 3.5 inches (9 centimeters), but has been observed to grow as large as 12x6 inches (30x15 centimeters), the giant Ghana snail is the world's largest land snail. Native to West Africa, giant Ghana snails can be found within 100 to 190 miles (160 to 305 kilometers) of the coasts of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, and of course, Ghana.
They are not commonly found in the United States or other western countries, and are in fact kept under quarantine due to the serious risk of ecosystem disruption that they present. They are considered agricultural pests as they can eat 500 types of plants and have voracious appetites. However, a small population has turned up in Florida (USA). This population is under careful observation, and is being actively contained and eradicated.
Giant Ghana snails are, like all snails, hermaphrodites (having both female and male sex organs), but can lay up to 1,200 eggs a year on an individual basis (another reason why their population is so unwanted in the western world). Although the species can be thinned by certain bacterial diseases that they are prone to, the giant Ghana snail has no natural predators other than humans. They are an important protein source for many African tribes and thus, attempts to raise and farm them are underway.