Two Giant African Snails showed up in a passenger’s luggage this week at the airport in Atlanta, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Whether the man, who was traveling from Nigeria, knew they were in his suitcase was not made clear by federal officials.
However, photos tweeted by customs showed the shells were a tough-to-miss 6 to 8 inches long and nearly 4 inches high. The skittish snails inside were equally strange looking, with each of their eyeballs attached to the end of two tentacles.
Two federally employed beagles sniffed something odd Sunday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, eventually finding the snails in “a traveler’s checked bags” that also held fruits and vegetables, customs officials said in a news release.
“The snails were turned over to U.S. Department of Agriculture for further evaluation,” they said.
“The seized food products was destroyed and the traveler was not penalized though warned about properly declaring of pests and agriculture products.”
African snails are an invasive species in the U.S. and pose a major threat to “more than 500 type of plants,” including agricultural staples like peanuts, melons and beans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The snails, which have been found in Hawaii and Florida, are also known to destroy stucco and paint on houses, says the department.
“After a single mating, each snail can produce 100 to 500 eggs,” the department says. “These snails can reproduce several more times without mating again. They can generate clutches of eggs every 2 to 3 months.”
The fate of the two snails in Atlanta was not divulged in the press release.