The headline in today’s Helsingin Sanomat had me reaching for my Finnish-English dictionary. Sure enough, that’s what it said. Killer snails. I was just there last month and nobody warned me about them. I had to read on.

The online article was fairly short, saying only that the slug posed a serious threat to crops, that it had first been found in Finland about 10 years ago, and now it appears to be there to stay. Eradication is no longer possible. I had to find out more, and so I cruised through several websites.

The article was about the Arion vulgaris, commonly called the Spanish slug, and often nicknamed the Killer slug for its voracious appetite. Native to the Iberian peninsula, it has been spreading north and westward through Europe.

I wondered whether it had made its way to North America, but apparently not yet. However, we have our own snail pests to worry about. On the UConn Integrated Pest Management website there are warnings to be on the lookout for the Cryptomphalus aspersus or Brown Garden Slug. This one seems to have originated in the Mediterranean region and was first found on the New Jersey shore about 10 years ago. It has spread to various regions. In California, it causes $7 million in crop damage annually.

Also today, the Portland (Maine) Herald reported that a new Hemlock pest was found in Kennebunkport. Great White Sharks are cruising off the Cape Cod shore even as I write this. Communities are preparing to do battle against the Asian Long-horned Beetle.

And I thought Jaws was scary. Will this never end?

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