Giant, toxic snails invading more parishes
DENHAM SPRINGS - Big, slimy, and toxic—the apple snail is likely taking over a lake near you.
"They probably floated around with flood waters. Hurricane Isaac moved them, the 2016 floods moved them, and I have a feeling this current flood will expand them into some areas that might not have them," said Rob Bourgeois, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator.
Originally introduced as a pet for aquariums in 2006, the snail can now be found in 28 parishes across the state. Being in Louisiana you might look at these and see a delicacy ready to be cooked in butter, but Bourgeois says not so fast.
"I wouldn't recommend it because of the difficulty in making sure the parasite is gone. There are some recipes out there if you're bold and want to try it. I personally wouldn't," he said.
The snails contain a parasite that has the potential to be deadly in people. The same goes for their eggs.
"Looks like pink bubblegum with little dots in it."
Not only are they toxic, they're destroying the ecosystem with their voracious appetite for aquatic vegetation.
"Without vegetation, you don't have food for baby fish and other animals in the water. It also affects duck hunters by removing the vegetation that ducks like to come and feed on."
Which is why Wildlife and Fisheries is asking you destroy their eggs if you see them.
"You can scrape the eggs off of the surface of where it's at, typically it's on a cypress knee or a bulkhead. When it falls in the water it will drown and other fish will eat it and get rid of it. just be careful, again you don't want to splash that in your face. wash your hands after doing it."
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