Youâ€™d think they fall from the skies along with the rains during the monsoons in Kerala. Giant African snails, the bane of agriculture in recent times are back, and a recently suggested solution to dealing with the snails is, unfortunately a bust.
With years of pest control methods failing to stop these critters from attacking plants, going into water sources, and crawling into houses, someone recently came up with a new solution.
On Tuesday, scientists at the Central Marine Fisheries Institute (CMFRI) suggested that the snails could be consumed and the meat exported.
For Malayalis who eat cranes, pythons and even frogs, that was probably good news.
But the solace was fleeting. The Asia Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network (APFISN), which has its secretariat at the Kerala Forest Research Institute in Thrissur, released an urgent communique on Tuesday saying that the meat of the snails is inedible.
The APFISN said the meat of the snail was unsafe as it contained angiostrongylis cantonensis - a nematode parasite which can cause meningitis in humans.
Giant African snails are one of the 100 worst invasive species in the world. It also said that China had in the past tried to export the snail meat to US, which declined the consignment because of these risk factors.