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Dogs Trained To Sniff Out Invasive Giant Snails

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JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida has two new recruits in its fight to eradicate invasive snails.

Two black Labrador retrievers named Raider and Bear are graduates of a program designed to sniff out giant African land snails.

Scientists say the invasive species is one of the most damaging snails in the world. They can consume at least 500 different types of plants.

The snails also damage buildings because they consume plaster and stucco to gain the calcium needed to grow large shells. They can grow up to 8 inches long and can carry a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans and animals.

The two new detector dogs were trained to find the snails that were first detected in Florida in 2011. More than 140,000 snails have been eliminated in the past three years.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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