Giant, killer snails have recently been discovered in Texas that have been associated with a number of dangerous parasites, including “rat lungworm.”

Earlier this week, a gardener from the Houston area found a Giant African land snail scouring her property. The snail, which can grow up to a whopping three inches tall and over eight inches long, has a reputation for being a nasty little creature capable of passing along parasites that can cause diseases like eosinophilic meningitis.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a rarity for humans to actually be infected by these critters, and most of the reported cases stem from people consuming infected snails that have not been cooked properly. Yet, the CDC reports that even if a person does eat a bad snail, “most people recover fully without treatment.”

The parasite dies over time, even without treatment. Even people who develop eosinophilic meningitis usually don’t need antibiotics. Sometimes the symptoms of the infection last for several weeks or months, while the body’s immune system responds to the dying parasites. The most common types of treatment are for the symptoms of the infection, such as pain medication for headache or medications to reduce the body’s reaction to the parasite, rather than for the infection itself. Patients with severe cases of meningitis may benefit from some other types of treatment.

Actually, the real threat that comes from Giant African snails is that they are considered one of the most invasive species in the world and can cause real trouble for Texas farmers. In addition, these critters have been known to destroy houses because they are particularly fond of calcium-bearing stucco.

Hmmm… we’re suddenly in the mood for escargot.