A Maltese woman who is selling baby Giant African snails for 7 euros a pop has set off a debate in the Maltese agricultural community about whether foreign species not suited for the Maltese climate should be imported to Malta.
She posted an advert for the snails in the popular online buying and selling group ‘min ipartat u minn ibieħ’.
Her post led to a flurry of action from local farmers and pet owners. After being called out for selling a possibly invasive species in Malta, the seller defended her actions publicly.
But the reaction from farmers was swift. Many were worried about the African species escaping their owners and eating up their crops.
Others were much less worried, and, in typical Maltese fashion, even shared some tips on how to cook up a tasty snail dish.
Arnold Scibberas, the Managing Director at The Exterminator, said that the African Giant snail is not a typical Maltese species, and it is not well-suited for Maltese climates as it needs a lot of humidity.
“However, it can thrive in certain areas such as Buskett Gardens where humidity is higher,” he said.
He said it is possible to keep the African Giant Snails as pets if the owners are responsible, and there are owners in Malta who take care of them correctly.
Having a fear of the snails, or making them illegal, might not be the best way to deal with them.
He also said that the African snail shouldn’t be of much concern to farmers, but that other species like the Italian snail, examples of which have been popping up recently, are much more worrying for Maltese agriculture.