On Friday, authorities said that a stash of nearly 100 giant African land snails was hidden inside bags at Duesseldorf Airport that was illegally smuggled out of Nigeria and on their way to an “African goods” shop in western Germany as the trail of slime led German customs officials into the stockpile.
According to the Associated Press, when officials discovered a massive 8-inch snail on a baggage truck, they initially thought it was a toy until it began to move, authorities said. Following the trail of slime left behind by the snail, authorities discovered a bag with a hole where another snail was already peering out, which led them to five more bags with a total of 93 snails inside.
In total, officials found six bags containing 93 giant snails, 62 pounds of fish and smoked meat, and a suitcase full of rotting meat.
#Osterferien in #NRW: Der #dusairport erwartet rund 800.000 Fluggäste. Gemeinsam mit seinen Partnern hat sich der Airport intensiv auf seine Gäste vorbereitet https://t.co/RhkT8b9z8W pic.twitter.com/QOtg1QvAzM
— Düsseldorf Airport (@dusairport) April 8, 2022
The AP added that an animal rescue service in Duesseldorf took the snails, while other goods were destroyed.
“Never in the history of the Duesseldorf customs office has a trail of slime led us to smuggled goods,” customs spokesman Michael Walk told the outlet.
After the species reappeared in the state this summer, the Florida Department of Agriculture dubbed it “one of the most damaging mollusk subtypes in the world” A single land snail can produce hundreds of eggs at once when it is 4 months old.
Snail trail: German customs officials say a trail of slime led them to a stash of giant African snails hidden in bags at the airport. Officials found six bags with 93 giant snails, 62 pounds of fish and smoked meat, and a suitcase full of rotting meat. https://t.co/LQbziu2JIi
— AP Oddities (@AP_Oddities) September 16, 2022
In Pasco County, Florida, authorities imposed a quarantine in July after discovering more than 1,000 huge land snails there. According to a department press release, authorities have been using specially trained canines to detect the species, but it can take years to totally eliminate the species.