Giant African Snail on St. Eustatius

In the 1.5 years since our inventory of invasive species published in March 2012 and which listed the species only for St. Maarten, Achatina has documented on Curacao in March 2013 by Drs. G. van Buurt and on St. Eustatius in August 2013 by Roberto Hensen, Msc., head of the Agriculture Service. Dr. David Robertson (USDA APHIS National Malacology Laboratory) further indicated that species had been documented from Aruba a few years ago already.

The species is spreading very rapidly and is not only a threat to nature but also especially horticulture. On St. Eustatius the species has so far been held at bay and limited to about 2 gardens in Oranjestad through baiting, removal and destruction. Eradication has not yet been achieved on St. Eustatius. The islands will use the strategy developed by USDA APHIS (2007)* to combat the species and prepare against its potential further spread to Bonaire and Saba, two Dutch islands which so far seem to have not yet been infected.

* New Pest Response Guidelines. Giant African Snails: Snail Pests in the Family Achatinidae.
USDA-APHIS-PPQ-Emergency and Domestic Programs-Emergency Planning, Riverdale, Maryland.

Picture of the species on St. Maarten, credit J. de Freitas, Carmabi.