Customs officials agents seized a load of giant African snails — known as one of the most damaging snail species in the world — found in a man’s luggage at JFK Airport this week, officials said.
Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered the 22 slimy, highly invasive critters during a baggage examination of an American man who arrived Sunday on a flight from Ghana, according to a news release.
The giant African snail consumes at least 500 types of plants and wreaks havoc on tropical and sub-tropical environments, officials said.
The snails — which produce about 1,200 eggs in a single year — also pose a health risk to humans because they carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis, officials said.
They are also known to cause structural damage to plaster and stucco structures.
In addition to the invasive snails, the man’s luggage contained about 24 pounds collectively of prohibited oxtail, dried beef, turkey berry, carrot, medicinal leaves and prekese, a traditional African spice and medicinal plant product, officials said.