The apple snail, which can destroy ecosystems and infect people with lungworm, is spreading deeper into the United States.

Smash Those Bright Pink Egg Masses

Fee Balqis from Getty Images
Fee Balqis from Getty Images

If you've been scrolling through social media lately, you may have come across alarming PSAs about the ultra invasive apple snail.

The United States Geological Survey said the apple snail is indigenous to South America, but its presence has been increasing in the United States.

They said:

They have the potential to negatively impact wetland and aquatic ecosystems, agricultural crops, and human health – as they can carry parasites. Apple snails can grow to 6 inches high, and are found in freshwater lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and ditches. Their presence is often indicated by the bright pink egg masses that consist of hundreds, if not thousands of individual eggs.

The invasive species is established in Florida, Georgia, Texas. Louisiana, Hawaii, and Arizona. California is also dealing with the unwanted pest.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recently announced they detected the apple snail along the Lumber River. It was later confirmed that they have spread to the state.

Photo Credit - ArendTrent/Thinkstock

The department warned:

Apple Snail grazing habits can damage plants used by many native aquatic species and they have even been observed feeding on amphibian eggs. Additionally, Apple Snails can present human health risks. They may carry rat lungworm, which can cause a potentially fatal disease in humans if the snails are eaten raw or undercooked. The snail’s egg masses also contain a toxin which can cause skin and eye rashes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says lungworm can cause eosinophilic meningitis in humans, in addition to severe gastrointestinal and central nervous system disease. Severe infections can result in coma or death.

Because more states are finding these snails in the wild, New Yorkers are now urged to be on alert to ensure these creatures don't establish themselves here.

Residents are warned to keep their eyes peeled for bright pink egg masses that may look like they're sugar coated glass beads. Should one be found, residents are urged to smash the eggs by stepping on them or using instruments like hammers.

According to numerous TikTok videos, smashing these egg clutches is extremely satisfying.

Concern for New York's Marine Life

Bigc Studio
Bigc Studio

The apple snail is described as a freshwater creature with heavy golden to dark brown shells. They can grow between 2 to 4 inches tall, but their shells can reach up to six inches. They are the largest freshwater snail on earth.

is known to wreak havoc on marine ecosystems, which is why bringing these snails into the state is prohibited by the NYS DEC. That means it is illegal to knowingly possess, sell, import, purchase, transport or introduce this snail species in New York State.

Read More: If You See This Highly Invasive Insect in New York, Kill It Immediately

The Department explained:

Invasive species can harm natural communities and systems (plants and animals found in particular physical environments) by out-competing native species, reducing biological diversity, altering community structure and, in some cases, changing ecosystems. Invasive species threaten New York’s food supply, not only agriculture but also harvested wildlife, fish and shellfish; our landscaping, parks, gardens, and pets; and our recreation resources and even animal and human health. All New Yorkers have a stake in the invasive species issue.

Those found in violation of the law will be subject to fines and other penalties.

Additionally, if you believe you found an apple snail or egg clutch, contact the Department of Environmental Conservation and let them know where you found evidence of the snail's presence.

The Lake George Association said there's another type of snail New Yorkers need to be on the lookout for because they are very similar to the apple snail.

The mystery snail, which is indigenous to East Asia, was brought to New York in the late 19th century as a potential food source. The snails began showing up across the Empire State.

LGA said that particular snail's population and locations are unknown, which is why they are urging people who think they may have found these problematic critters to contact conservation and wildlife officials immediately.

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