An enormous snail found alive in mail sent using Australia Post’s express package service is being touted by the postal union as its next mascot.
The giant panda snail, native to New South Wales and Queensland and worth $40 to collectors, was the latest in an increasing number of live creatures found moving through Australia Post’s network, according to authorities.
Furious with recent changes to the Australian postal system, the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) claimed the creature would be the perfect mascot because it was “slow” and “endangered”.
On Friday, Tasmanian package screener Jason Paul explained how he found the big mollusc.
“I noticed something that looked a little bit odd … obviously went for a further inspection and found that it was a snail, so it was a pretty big find to be finding something like that,” Mr Paul said.
“It’s quite a big one, I think it’s one of the biggest ones in Australia so it was quite surprising firstly to see it come through the mail and secondly that people want to have it as pets.”
He added that Biosecurity Tasmania had found and seized live fish and plant material containing ants arriving by mail in recent weeks.
“Live fish and live coral is getting more and more common, it’s so easy for people to purchase things online and not aware of what the requirements are,” Mr Paul said.
Other bizarre creatures spotted in the mail included fruit fly larva in Thai eggplant, raw prawn meat from South Korea and a 30-kilogram package of African eggplant.
In 2015, 285 prohibited items were detected in the postal system by detector dogs, physical inspections and x-ray technology.
While those plants and creatures were detected, Biosecurity Tasmania general manager Lloyd Klumpp said it was a good reminder for the community to remain vigilant and aware of what can and cannot be brought or sent into the state.
“There are a wide range of species which are native to the mainland but aren’t found in Tasmania and so aren’t allowed to be brought in,” Dr Klumpp said.
The giant panda snail was likely to be euthanised within days.
‘Expensive, slow and endangered’
The CEPU pounced on the opportunity to paint the snail as the perfect embodiment of the Australia Post system.
“He’d be a wonderful mascot, a symbol of what Australia Post stands for: he’s expensive, slow and endangered,” national secretary Greg Rayner told Fairfax Media.
CEPU said attempts were underway “at the highest levels” to get the snail released.
It is angry about changes to the basic postal service introduced in 2016. The changes meant regular mail can take two days longer than the old system to arrive.
The price of a regular stamp also jumped from 70 cents to $1.
The reform was intended to stop Australia Post’s letters business suffering through its transition to a digitally orientated business.
In 2015 chief executive Ahmed Fahour announced 1900 jobs would be lost over three years through voluntary redundancies.
However the reform has been opposed by the union, who used the case of the massive snail to attack Australia Post for its altered service.
“We all knew it was only a matter of time before they extended snail mail to Express Post,” NSW secretary Jim Metcher said.
The giant panda snail is the largest land snail in Australia and can grow to 10 centimetres in length.
It is found on the mid coast of New South Wales and east of the Great Dividing Range near Brisbane.