Invasive Species
2:43 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Got Giant African Land Snails? Release The Hounds!

Will sniff snails for treats: Bear, a three-year-old black lab, is being trained to follow the scent of giant African land snails.
Credit Sammy Mack / WLRN

In the ongoing assault on invasive giant African land snails, Florida is ready to release the hounds.

Literally.

The state will be adding snail-sniffing dogs to its team of 50 full-time snail hunters.

RELATED: Dogs Prove To Be Key In Battle Against Giant African Snails

At a press conference in Douglas Park on Thursday, state and local officials updated a dozen or so reporters on the state of the snail invasion. So far, the human snail hunters have killed more than 128,000 of the pests.

Sightings of the snails are down, but Florida isn’t claiming victory yet. The last time Florida had a giant African land snail problem was in the 1960's. That intervention netted 17,000 dead snails and took nine years.

LISTEN: Giant African Land Snails? Release The Hounds!

Enter snail-sniffing detector dogs like Bear, a three-year-old black lab who joined officials at the podium.

As state agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam pointed out, a “dog will pick up specimens that perhaps the human eye missed.”

You can watch video of Bear’s snail training:

At the Thursday press conference, Bear was just being a dog: