Achatina fulica is considered by most authorities to be the most damaging land snail in the world. Originally a native of Eastern Africa, this voracious agricultural pest is now present virtually everywhere in the Indo-Pacific except for Australia and New Zealand.
The Giant African Snail lays eggs in batches of 100 to 400 with up to 1200 being laid in a year. While the adult snail has an average life of 5 – 6 years it may live as long as 9 years. Although a tropical snail, Achatina fulica can survive cold conditions, even snow.
The Giant African Snail has been recorded on a large number of plants including most ornamentals and vegetables and leguminous cover crops may suffer extensively. The bark of citrus, papaw, rubber and cacao is also subject to attack.
The main quarantine risk lies in the introduction of the snail attached to crates, containers, plant material, machinery or motor vehicles. It can hide out of general sight and reach and can also be introduced in soil in the egg stage. Snails in aestivation, which have drawn deep into their shells, can lose 60% of their weight and consequently can be mistaken for dead specimens.