Two beagles have proved their worth to the US Customs and Border Protection at a Georgia airport. The canines sniffed out two giant african snails that were entering the USA illegally. They were in the luggage of an international passenger. CBP staff at entry points like airports have to be alert about incoming passengers and the items they bring in. CBP has to ensure that every baggage is checked and ensure that none of them contain any item that could prove detrimental to the interest of the country. Therefore, they have the special beagle brigade, trained to sniff out items of this nature.

Daily Mail UK reports that the incident happened at the Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. The pair of beagles alerted their handlers about the contraband that was in one of the traveler's checked luggage. The items were two creatures, plus there were prohibited fruits and vegetables. This species of snails can grow to enormous sizes and are a threat to the environment. The person had arrived on a flight that originated in Nigeria.

Giant African snails are a threat

These creatures can be up to eight inches in length and resemble some out-of-this-world living specimen.

CBP says these are “one of the most damaging snails in the world.” They devour practically all types of plants and can even damage stucco and plaster buildings. The US Department of Agriculture adds that these snails can endanger human lives. This is because they can carry parasites that can harm humans.

Daily Mail UK adds that in this case, CBP confiscated the snails.

USDA would examine them to decide on the next line of action. The illegal fruits and vegetables that the passenger carried were destroyed and the individual let off with a warning. CBP did not levy any penalty but warned him that such items must be declared at the border. Incidentally, there is some religious significance associated with them.

Moreover, they are cooked and served as a snack in some cultures while some keep them as pets.

Eradicating Giant African snails was a costly affair

According to CNN, the first sighting of these snails was in southern Florida in the 1960s. Once details emerged about their eating habits and proliferation, the authorities took action to eradicate them. Each of the females lay about 1,200 eggs every year and eat at least 500 types of plants, including peanuts and melons. Eliminating them was a long and costly affair. USDA says, “It took a decade and $1 million to eradicate them.” The pests made a comeback in 2011 and eradication efforts are continuing. Regarding the incident of the two snails in Atlanta airport, an official of the Atlanta CBP said - "Our beagles sniffing out these snails highlights how valuable our canine members are to protecting the U.S."