Banned giant African snail goes wild on Twitter

Snabbit
Some social media users said they expected nightmares after seeing the picture. Photo credit: Twitter

A giant land snail or 'snabbit' has enthralled social media users after a photo of the bizarre creature was shared on Twitter.

Late last week a tweeter, Madds, from the United States, shared a photo of a giant snail overwhelming the owner's hand with the caption, "Please. My rabbit. He's very sick."

The post was flooded with comments and questions, and the super-sized snail was eventually coined a 'snabbit' due to it resembling a hybrid breed of the two.

The original Twitter post of the critter was retweeted more than 45,000 times with some saying they would have nightmares after seeing the picture.

"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.

Another wrote, "The initial thought is...put.that.down."

Others wondered what it might taste like with butter, a la escargot, or whether it had been photo shopped. 

The user admitted she had not taken the photo herself - she believed it was originally taken in Russia

Adult giant African snails are an oversized breed, and are the world's largest and most damaging land snail.

Giant snail
A Giant African Snail is shown next to an American quarter coin; measuring 24cm in circumference. Photo credit: Getty

Native to Eastern Africa, they are banned in many countries, and carry many pathogens.

They have a cone-shaped shell measuring up to 20 centimetres.

However, they have spread to other tropical countries, and the US Department of Agriculture and Water Resources describes them as having a "ferocious" appetite capable of destroying ecosystems.

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

Newshub.