Invasive, Toxic-Egg-Laying Snails Make Their Way Into North Carolina
An invasive species of South American snail has made its way into North Carolina. Wildlife officials are sending out warnings because the snails lay toxic egg clusters.
The invasive apple snails were recently found in the southeastern part of North Carolina, on the Lumber River in Lumberton. The snails are not native to the area and grow quite large in size (up to six inches long — much bigger than native North Carolina snails). They are known for laying bright pink egg clusters that are toxic and dangerous.
Wildlife officials were first tipped off by a concerned citizen. A biologist was sent to collect samples. Adult apple snails and multiple egg clusters were found.
“Subsequent surveys by an NCWRC biologist detected adult snails and eggs near the I-95 bridge crossing of the Lumber River, at the High Hill Boating Access Area, and in Fivemile Branch, a tributary to the Lumber River, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission said in a statement.
Multiple states have already mounted eradication programs, but it’s the first time apple snails have been spotted in North Carolina. They present human health risks, including a potentially fatal disease if the snails are eaten raw or undercooked. Egg masses contain a toxin which can cause skin and eye rashes in humans.
What you can do:
If you spot an apple snail or a bright pink egg cluster that you suspect is from an apple snail, wildlife officials ask that you take a picture of it before destroying it. Then report the find via the NCWRC’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Reporting Tool.