What Are Apple Snails?

Apple snails are considered to be a species that is both tropical and sub-tropical and they prefer freshwater. Unfortunately, these creatures are considered to be a very harmful and highly invasive aquatic-based species. Recently, these creatures were found along the Lumber River, which is located in Lumberton, North Carolina.

This species of snail is common to South America, but this is the first population known to exist within the State of North Carolina. 

The Discovery 

A citizen who stumbled across the Apple Snail population in Lumberton, N.C took pictures of the egg clusters and sent the images directly to the NCWRC. A biologist then went out and investigated the area, collecting additional samples of egg masses.

Those were then given to the N.C Museum of Natural Sciences. It is the museum that confirmed that these were – in fact – Apple Snails. To date, the snails have been found at the I-95 bridge located in Lumber River. They have been found at a tributary to the river, Fivemile Branch. Additionally, they have been found at the boating access area at High Hill. 

Why Are Apple Snails Considered Dangerous?

Apple snails eat on plants and damage them. These are used by many aquatic animals for nutrition. In addition to this, they present health problems to humans. It is possible for these creatures to carry and transmit rat lungworm. If a human develops this, it may prove to be deadly. In most instances, people contract the illness because they consume apple snails that are undercooked or completely raw. The eggs of this creature include a toxin. This can cause rashes in the eyes and on the skin. Pets may also experience harm from apple snails. Do not allow your pet to come into contact with these creatures or to get too close to them. They, too, may suffer skin irritation, discomfort, and even contract diseases from the snails. 

What Do Apple Snails Look Like?

Apple snails may grow anywhere from 2 inches to 6 inches. They are typically very large compared to other types of non-invasive snails. Female snails actually lay eggs about once a week.

The eggs are a very bright pink color and they are in clusters. They are laid on a surface that is considered to be solid. Once they hatch, the young will then drop right into the water and will grow into their adulthood. 

Are They Legal?

Many people do not realize it, but apple snails cannot be transported, purchased, possessed, stocked, or sold legally within the State of North Carolina. If you stumble across these creatures, you must make a report with the Aquatic Nuisance Species Reporting Tool.

You will need to attach a picture and provide information on their location. Drain water from boats and other items. All water-based equipment should be cleaned and dried. Avoid moving plants, fish, and other types of items between bodies of water. You should avoid touching or attempting to move the apple snails if you discover them. 

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