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 Centraland South America and they've been introduced here and reproducedwithout a control," said Ben Ricks, U.S. Fish and WildlifeService..
Ricks says the snails have been in Mobile for more than twoyears, and he believes they were introduced to the area whensomeone dumped an aquarium into the ponds at Langan Park.
"Somebody got tired of having an aquarium and just came here tothe 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 willprobably be little to none eventually," said Ricks.
If the Apple Snails aren't controlled, folks at the U.S. Fishand Wildlife Service are also afraid they will spread into theMobile Tensaw Delta.
Saturday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will scrape snaileggs 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 donethat treatment, we're also going to monitor the system," saidRicks.
Ricks says that treatment will not harm the birds or turtlesthat swim in the water, but there is a chance that the fish will beaffected by the copper. He says if they are, the Department ofConservation will restock the ponds.
He hopes one treatment will take care of snails, but believes itcould take years to get rid of them.
If you would like to volunteer to help clean the Apple Snailsout of Langan Park, you can call the U.S Fish and Wildlife Serviceat: 251-626-5153
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