TALLAHASSEE  (CBSMiami/AP) — The Giant African Land Snail has become a giant issue in South Florida which has already led to snail-sniffing dogs and teams of people trying to capture the invasive species.

They were discovered in 2011 and since then, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner says his department has successfully eliminated more than 140,000 Giant African Land Snails from Miami-Dade County, but he warns challenges remain.

The state received a federal grant earlier this year to deal with the snail. Adam Putnam said the program has kept the snail from moving beyond the county’s borders, but warned that the discovery in August 2014 of a large population of snails in a new core area reinforces the importance of the eradication program.

This type of invasive species of snail is considered one of the most damaging snails in the world because it eats at least 500 different agricultural crops, can cause damage to plaster and stucco on homes. They also pose a serious health risk to humans.

The Giant African land snail is one of the largest land snails in the world, growing up to eight inches in length and more than four inches in diameter.

Putnam is slated to discuss the eradication efforts in Miami on Tuesday.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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