Man Gets Felony Charges For Eating Protected Snail

According to Florida wildlife authorities, a guy was taken into custody on Friday in Key West and charged with a crime for consuming a protected species.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Burley David Smith decided to “capture, boil and devour two queen conch” at a Wisteria Island campground after celebrating his 67th birthday a few days before. The uninhabited island is home to homeless people.

The agency said that a witness reported the unlawful meal to FWC. According to FWC, when police arrived on the island, Smith exhibited “argumentative” behavior and refused to comply.

He acknowledged that the queen conch shells were at his campground but refused to provide their exact position. Two eyewitnesses—one who reported the incident and another who saw Smith collecting the endangered species—led the police to Smith’s campground. They found two empty queen conch shells along with the saucepan and fire.

Smith was taken into custody.

There has been a lengthy history of “harvesting for its excellent flesh and attractive shell” of “Florida’s Spectacular Sea Snail,” according to an FWC guide. Efforts are being aimed at restoring native populations, and the species is under harvest protection.

Smith was still in custody on Tuesday at the Key West detention facility of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on misdemeanor charges of collecting queen conch and felony charges of killing an endangered or threatened species.

The court granted him a $21,500 bail.

Queen conch can no longer be found on Florida restaurant menus.

You can find horse conch shells scattered throughout the beaches of Southwest Florida.

It differs from the queen conch in its shell form. The horse conch is characterized by its more extended shell and somewhat muted hue, unlike the queen conch, which has an exquisite pink inside.

In contrast to queen conchs, horse conchs often inhabit somewhat muddy environments. Queen conch prefers sandy bottoms and extremely clear water, which may explain their dwindling numbers.