Snails on a Plane! Giant African Land snails seized at Glasgow Airport


Rob Williams
Wednesday 19 September 2012 16:26
Giant African land snails are often eaten as bar snacks in Nigeria
Giant African land snails are often eaten as bar snacks in Nigeria

Trudging through airport security you can feel like you're progressing at a snail's pace.

Could it perhaps be poetic justice, therefore, that airport officials at Glasgow Airport were confronted by a suitcase full of the creatures when checking the luggage of a Nigerian man?

Border Force officials discovered the group of 36 giant African land snails when a man arrived from Amsterdam earlier this month.

The molluscs, which are not indigenous to Britain, averaged around 15cm in length, and have shells the size of a human fist.

Officers seized the snails, because they require a live import licence, which the traveller did not have.

Though the snails would be unlikely to survive the British winter they could spread diseases if released into the wild.

They were passed on to an animal rescue organisation and the man was warned about the restrictions.

The man attempting to bring the Giant African Land snails into Scotland said they were for food.

They are a popular delicacy and their base can be eaten in soup and a range of other dishes.

Murdo MacMillan, of the Border Force in Scotland, said: “The vigilance of our officers at Glasgow Airport has stopped these snails from entering Scotland, and possibly posing a risk to our native plants and wildlife.

“I would warn travellers not to attempt to bring live animals into the UK without a permit, or to bring in any products of animal origin which may contain pests or diseases.”

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