HOUSTON - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport intercepted 15 live Giant Land Snails from a passenger’s luggage in early July.
Officials said the snails were among 15 that were seized in Houston.
According to a release, a passenger was traveling from Nigeria and initially only declared dried beef, but later amended her declaration to include live snails.
Officials said while they examined the passenger’s luggage, they found three plastic zip-closed bags containing the live snails with fresh leaves and about 0.25 pounds of beef.
This species of snail, which is native to West Africa, is a potentially serious threat as an invasive species that could negatively affect agriculture, natural ecosystems, human health or commerce, officials said.
The snails that were intercepted were turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who identified the snails as Giant Land Snails, also known as Banana Rasp Snails.
"Our agriculture specialists remain vigilant in protecting the U.S. from foreign animal and plant disease that could threaten U.S. crop production and livestock industry or be transmitted to humans," said Houston CBP Port Director Shawn Polley.