Why this huge snail that looks like a rabbit is banned in Australia

A giant land snail resembling a rabbit has set social media alight as the bizarre creature is banned in Australia and the US.

 

On Sunday, Twitter user Madds from the United States uploaded a shocking picture of a giant African land snail engulfing its owner's hand, with the caption: "Please. My Rabbit. He's very sick."

After the post was bombarded with questions, the Twitter user admitted she had not taken the photo herself and believes it originates from Russia as the exotic pet are the "world’s largest and most damaging land snails."

A giant land snail resembling a rabbit has set social media alight. Photo: Twitter/ Madds

The enormous snails are native to Eastern Africa, but quickly spread to many tropical countries.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, they feed on more than 500 species of plants and have a "ferocious" appetite capable of destroying ecosystems.

Adult giant African snails have a cone-shaped shell measuring up to 20 centimetres.

The original Twitter post of the snail was retweeted more than 40,000 times with some saying they would have nightmares after seeing the picture.

Adult giant African snails have a cone-shaped shell measuring up to 20 centimetres. Photo: Getty

According to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the snails feed on more than 500 species of plants. Photo: Getty

"If that was my pet I would always be wondering if it liked me or if it would try to kill me in middle of the night," one Twitter user wrote.

In March 2013 one of the illegal snails was found in a Brisbane container yard and was destroyed.

‘‘Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements and responsive system has so far kept these pests out of Australia and we want to keep it that way," Acting DAFF regional manager Paul Nixon said at the time.

In March 2013 one of the illegal snails was found in a Brisbane container yard. Photo: Getty

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