Customs officials at Germany’s Duesseldorf Airport followed a slimy trail to find bags full of giant African land snails, or GALS, smuggled from Nigeria!

Leading the Snail Trail

Officials were stunned when an eight-inch snail they stumbled upon and believed to be a toy started moving! Since snails aren’t exactly stealthy creatures, they were able to follow the fugitive’s trail until they found the source — a hole in a bag that had another snail peeking out, plotting its own great escape.

Upon searching the luggage, they discovered that not only were these two smuggled mollusks were not alone; they were joined by six bags full of others for a total of 93 GALS. (Quite the bachelorette trip!) The giant snails were also traveling with 62 pounds of fish and smoked meat, as well as a briefcase full of rotten meat.

While the meat and seafood were destroyed ASAP, the snails’ journey from Nigeria to an African goods store in west Germany was detoured to a local animal rescue service.

Spokesman Michael Walk remarked, “Never in the history of the Duesseldorf customs office has a trail of slime led us to smuggled goods.”

Giant African Land Snail

GALS Gone Wild

These GALS have been wreaking havoc around the globe recently, having hit up Florida’s west coast this summer, causing a quarantine!

While snails may seem harmless, these gastropods pack a ghastly punch, destroying native soil and carrying the rat lungworm parasite wherever they go. A cult leader even once used them to poison his followers!

Considering one snail can lay thousands of eggs at a time, we’d say it’s pretty lucky the customs officers were on their trail before they became a bigger problem.

By Meghan Yani, contributor for


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