Notice to industry: European brown garden snail (Cornu aspersum)

In May 2018, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of the European brown garden snail (Cornu aspersum) in a residential area in Surrey, British Columbia. This snail is a regulated pest in Canada. CFIA's response to detections of European brown garden snail in Canada is focused on keeping this pest out of Canadian nursery, greenhouse and plant retail facilities and eradicating it from these facilities when it is found. The CFIA has no plans to attempt to eradicate this snail from residential areas, but will continue to follow up with nurseries near any detection to verify whether the snail is present.

European brown garden snails are present in many states of the United States, including California, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. Most recent introductions are believed to be the result of receiving container-grown plants that were contaminated with the snail from California. This is why the CFIA requires all plants with soil that are imported from California to be produced in approved snail-free facilities. Plants entering Canada from all infested states must also be inspected and certified free from European brown garden snail.

European brown garden snails are mainly nocturnal, but they may come out of their hiding places when it is wet, warm and overcast. Adults and larger sized juveniles may be visible on plant material or attached to the outside of pots and other containers. These snails have yellowish shells with brown spiral bands and may be 32-38 mm in diameter, much larger than snails normally found in Canada. The snails chew ragged holes in leaves and fruit and leave trails of slime and excrement on plants.

The importation of containerized nursery stock from California and other infested states is considered the highest risk pathway of introduction for this pest to Canada. If you think you have found European brown garden snails, please contact the CFIA at cfia.horticulture.acia@canada.ca.

Help prevent the spread of European brown garden snails!  If you are a producer in the nursery, greenhouse or floriculture sector, please consider implementing a biosecurity plan to help prevent the introduction and spread of this pest.

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