TWO little boys out playing on the Curragh Plains recently discovered one of the most invasive species in the world lurking among the shrubs.
Five-year-old twins Oisin and Isaac Lawlor from Coughlanstown were out exploring when they came across a Giant African Snail.
The huge slug is banned in some countries because of the hazards they represent. The department of agriculture in the US consider them as one of the most damaging species for crops in the country and have made them illegal in certain areas as the snail is known to eat at least 500 different types of plants.
This snail found by the boys is four to five inches long and was discovered among the shrubs in the woodland by the road parallel to the golf course.
“We went out to fly helicopters that the boys got from Christmas,” said their father Odhran. “We went to the Curragh so they wouldn’t get stuck up a tree.
“It was the strangest day, not only did they find this but a man dressed like Braveheart, in a tweed skirt and long hair, just appeared, walked by us and then disappeared in to the woods. It was very odd,” he laughed.
One of the boys walked into the woods and came back with the snail.
“I thought it was a wood carving at first,” he added. “I couldn’t believe it when I looked up about it online. Some people keep them as pets, maybe it was just discarded there.”
The snails have been known to live up to 10 years and are on the list of the 100 most harmful invasive alien species in the world. They stand out for their large size and can easily adapted to life in regions outside its natural habitat.
The boys have contacted and sent photographs of their find to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Although some people may think it is no big deal, they can deposit a lot of eggs, up to 200 every time they deliver a batch.