Giant African Snails: The Never Risk-Free Nigerian Meal

Giant African Snail
Giant African Snail

Giant African Snails turned up in the luggage of a Nigerian traveler this week. The US Customs and Border Protection Unit discovered them along with illegal veggies after the sniffer dogs alerted officers, Daily Mail UK reported. Possibly, the lawbreaker planned to eat the snails as they make a popular dish in Africa. However, the snails are never risk-free to consume.

Giant African Snails invaded Florida and Texas

Occasionally, Giant African Snails turn up far from home. The giant slimy creatures are the largest of their species and are not native to the USA. A few years ago, the prolific breeders brought concern to Texas as they carry parasites that can cause meningitis. The parasite comes from the “rat lungworm,” and snails love to eat their poop.

It’s best not even to touch the gross animals. The Atlantic cited “Autumn Smith-Herron, director of the Institute for the Study of Invasive Species at Sam Houston State University.” Around the Houston area, she grew concerned about people picking up “the 8-inch gastropods.” She noted, “Unfortunately, humans are picking the snails up…they carry a parasitic disease that can cause a lot of harm to humans and sometimes even death.”

Snails don’t make a risk-free meal.

The idea of cooking and eating the giant slimeballs probably grosses out most people. However, in Nigeria, locals go crazy for them. WLRN Miami spoke to ‘Nigerian-born chef Margaret Lanier [who] co-owns Sheri’s Restaurant in Opa-Locka. Sheri’s is an African restaurant serving mainly Nigerian dishes.” That was back in 2014 when snails started appearing in Florida.

According to her, the snails make a very tasty meal, and she gets pretty excited about them. However, she noted some stringent rules. And, even if anyone followed them, there’s always a risk of getting very sick and dying. She said that people must wash the snails with a combination of salt, lemon, and alum. However, it’s not necessarily safe, so don’t even try it.

It’s not worth the risk as snails also need purging

To really clean a snail, they should be fed on very clean and disease-free food, then thoroughly purged, so their insides are empty. It takes a lot of fuss and hassle. Even then, there still might be residual parasites. However, poor people probably have other things to worry about in Africa. If you were starving, it might be worth risking eating Giant African Snails.

(DISCLAIMER) We take no responsibility if anyone reads this and tries to eat the snails. 

What do you think about the Nigerian smuggling two Giant African Snails into the USA along with accompanying veggies? Do you think it’s worth the risk of getting meningitis from the animals? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below about Giant African Snails

About Jane Flowers 11 Articles
I am a freelance journalist, self-published author, and a senior curator at Blasting News on the USA platform. I was awarded the Golden Pen Award in 2015.I was the Safarian writer of the week for wildlife articles in Africa in 2016. I studied journalism and human communications in Australia and New Zealand. I have been writing and publishing since 2001, often under the pseudonym of Woryn Jay.I wrote freelance articles for The Herald (Zimbabwe), Scope (RSA), and The Fisherman Magazine (Zimbabwe), between 1990 and 2000. I started editing articles for Blasting News in 2016 and video creation in 2017. In terms of Newsguard, I am a verified member of the reviewer team for Blasting News.I am a contributor to TV Shows Ace and The Destination Seeker. Historically, I edited and produced review articles for WoW Travel and Trip 101.