Giant African snails seized at airport
A shipment of several dozen live giant African snails, weighing 2lb (0.9kg) each, has been seized by officials at Los Angeles International Airport.
The 67 snails, measuring about six inches (15cm) in length, arrived from Lagos, Nigeria, in two plastic baskets with paperwork describing them as being for human consumption, custom inspectors said.
The snails are considered a delicacy in Nigeria but are also voracious pests that eat not just plants, but paint and stucco off houses.
It was the largest such shipment ever seized at LAX, the US Customs and Border Protection agency said.
The packages were marked as destined for an address in San Dimas, California, about 30 miles (48km) east of Los Angeles.
The creatures are prohibited from entry because they pose a serious threat to agriculture, the environment and public health.
The giant snails can consume more than 500 types of plants, and will even munch on the exterior of homes if fruits and vegetables are not available.
They also can carry several parasites harmful to humans, including one that can lead to meningitis.
The entire snail collection was incinerated by the US Department of Agriculture.