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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New information Tuesday on the battle to get rid of invasive and destructive Giant African Land Snails out of South Florida.

A snail was placed on the podium at Miami-Dade County Hall Tuesday while experts discussed the importance of not allowing the snails to live in South Florida.

Approximately 156,000 snails have been collected, many with the help of snail-sniffing dogs.

Giant African Land Snails can cause diseases in people who touch them. Scientists consider these snails to be one of the most damaging snails in the world. The snails cause structural damage to buildings by consuming plaster and stucco to get the calcium they need to grow their shells.

Originally from East Africa, the GALS, Achatina fulica, is one of the largest land snails in the world, growing up to 8 inches in length. Each snail can live as long as 9 years. GALS are difficult to eradicate because they have no natural predator and they reproduce exponentially, up to 1,200 more snails per year.

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