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Only in New Zealand: Giant, Albino, Meat-Eating Snail and Heavy-Weight Insect


"...not quite a man-eater -- yet."

Why is it that things seem to get bigger, more poisonous and generally scarier down under? The two recent sightings of a snail and a grasshopper-like creature are no exception.

I know what you're thinking, but these are, as I said, sightings in New Zealand and therefore no ordinary mollusk or insect.

As for the snail, it's albino. It's giant. It's a meat eater. According to Daily Mail, the rare Powelliphanta is thought to be about 10 years old and was seen by hikers in New Zealand.

Here's more from the Daily Mail about the snail:

Although it may be a good subject for a low budget horror movies, the Powelliphanta snail is not quite a man-eater -- yet.

They can grow to around the size of a man's fist and lives for around 20 years. 

They feed on worms and slugs and any other small creature that can't outrun a snail, not reputed to be the world's fastest creature.

They have few enemies but remain endangered. They lay up to 10 eggs a year that are hard like a bird's.

Now, for the next oversized invertebrate. Have you ever seen a grasshopper eat a carrot? I'm talking a full size carrot not one of the peeled baby carrots, which they probably wouldn't eat either. The Daily Mail reports this giant Weta -- not actually a grasshopper -- found by an American man in New Zealand is the heaviest insect on record:

Mark [Moffett], 53, said: ‘Three of us walked the trails of this small island for two nights scanning the vegetation for a giant weta.

"We spent many hours with no luck finding any at all, before we saw her up in a tree.

‘The giant weta is the largest insect in the world, and this is the biggest one ever found, she weighs the equivalent to three mice.

"She enjoyed the carrot so much she seemed to ignore the fact she was resting on our hands and carried on munching away.

"She would have finished the carrot very quickly, but this is an extremely endangered species and we didn't want to risk indigestion.

"After she had chewed a little I took this picture and we put her right back where we found her."

The Daily Mail reports that giant wetas are only found on Little Barrier Island, New Zealand, along with smaller weta species.

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