Updated: Friday, 02 Oct 2009, 10:28 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 02 Oct 2009, 10:28 PM CDT
MOBILE, Ala. - The snails lay tiny pink eggs that hatch into Apple Snails, which can grow to 6 inches in diameter.
"They're an invasive exotic species. They're native to Central and South America and they've been introduced here and reproduced without a control," said Ben Ricks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service..
Ricks says the snails have been in Mobile for more than two years, and he believes they were introduced to the area when someone dumped an aquarium into the ponds at Langan Park.
"Somebody got tired of having an aquarium and just came here to the park and turned them loose," said Ricks.
The snails are herbivores, and live off aquatic plants.
That has Fish and Wildlife officials worried.
"If they persist here, over the next few years, there will probably be little to none eventually," said Ricks.
If the Apple Snails aren't controlled, folks at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are also afraid they will spread into the Mobile Tensaw Delta.
Saturday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will scrape snail eggs off hard surfaces before treating the ponds at Langan Park, and Three mile Creek with copper-sulfate.
"Because snails have a high toxicity to copper. Once we've done that treatment, we're also going to monitor the system," said Ricks.
Ricks says that treatment will not harm the birds or turtles that swim in the water, but there is a chance that the fish will be affected by the copper. He says if they are, the Department of Conservation will restock the ponds.
He hopes one treatment will take care of snails, but believes it could take years to get rid of them.
If you would like to volunteer to help clean the Apple Snails
out of Langan Park, you can call the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service