Truck driver Eluzardo Nardel da Silva, 42, who lives in Blumenau, in the Itajaí Valley, is already used to seeing African snails crawling around the neighborhood, but on Tuesday (30) he spotted a large number of them on the sidewalk of street where you live while going to the gym. The animals are considered an agricultural and urban pest, according to the city hall.
The truck driver decided to register the presence of the animals in the place. Eluzardo did not know how to calculate the exact number of animals he saw, but he triggered the Sanitary Surveillance, which was at the place oriented to the residents.
Blumenau resident registered a large number of snails on the sidewalk of Blumenau (SC) – Photo: Eluzardo Nardel da Silva / Personal Archive
The Health Promotion Secretariat (Semus) of Blumenau advises that when they find these animals, the residents themselves carry out the identification, collection and disposal (see more below).
“They appear and disappear from here in the neighborhood. But this time there were many, both small and large. They were even on the wall of a house, said the truck driver.
According to the municipal administration, the giant African snail (Achatina fulica) is endemic throughout the city, with no geographic limitation present in all neighborhoods. However, there is no “quantitative survey of snails based on specific scientific methodology for such a census”.
The city said that in the case of snails found by the resident in the Itoupavazinha neighborhood, the city’s Health Surveillance veterinarians “were on site guiding several residences on the indicated street. A memorandum was made asking the owners to clean and properly maintain the land.”
Snails can transmit zoonoses to humans and cause abdominal pain and bleeding, fever, vomiting, perforate the intestine and affect the nervous system.
- The guidance of the Health Surveillance is not to touch them and notify the agency by phone 3381-6230 or 156, option 4;
- animals should only be collected using plastic bags or disposable gloves. Avoid using poisons;
- a sanitary barrier can be used to prevent snails from reaching the residences with the application of fine (virgin) lime around the land,
- never put live snails in the trash. This will only help to disseminate them to other locations in the city and the region.
According to Semus, there are two ways to get rid of these animals: bury them in pits at least 40 centimeters deep, using lime at the bottom of the ditch, or break the shells and deposit the mollusks in a bleach container. Only after that should the carcasses be discarded.
African snails for transmitting zoonoses to humans – Photo: Eluzardo Nardel da Silva / Personal Archive
African snail is a pest in 23 states
The African snail was brought to Brazil in the 1980s to be a cheaper alternative to esgargot, but it did not work. The mollusk is not edible and today it is a pest in 23 Brazilian states, according to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FioCruz). According to the biologist, Renata Calixto Campos, the animal, in addition to causing damage to human health, also harms agricultural crops and the environment, as it ends up competing with native species.
“They have no predators in Brazil. Only the collection and destruction [dos animais] has shown satisfactory results. “, said the researcher
Rapid animal reproduction helps with infestation. A snail can lay two hundred eggs every two months. And at five months, each chick becomes an adult and can now lay another two hundred eggs. The food is based on plantations and places with accumulation of garbage and weeds.
According to the Directorate of Epidemiological Surveillance (Dive), Florianópolis, Tubarão, in the south of the state and Itajaí, in the valley, currently present a scenario of infestation of these animals.
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