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Authorities seize 67 live giant African snails at LAX

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Authorities seize 67 live giant African snails at LAX

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Jul 15, 2014

Federal authorities at Los Angeles International Airport recently made a slimy discovery as 67 live giant African snails were seized from two picnic baskets by federal authorities.

With an investigation still underway, authorities confirmed yesterday that on July 1, more than 35 pounds of mollusks meant for human consumption were found en route to San Dimas, California, from Lagos, Nigeria. 

"In the past, federal inspectors have discovered one or two of the large snails hidden in luggage, but this marked 'the first time this pest has been encountered in such large quantity and as a consumption entry' in Los Angeles, said Todd C. Owen, director of field operations for the customs agency," reports the Los Angeles Times.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture deems the large snails as a damaging species, consuming more than 500 types of plants," further reports the Los Angeles Times. "But when the snails can't find fruits and vegetables to eat, they will 'eat paint and stucco off of houses,' the customs agency said in a statement."

Giant African snails also contain parasites that are harmful to humans. They can grow up to eight inches long and live as long as 10 years.