Poisonous snails invade waterways

Large numbers of apple snails, one of the first alien invasive species seen in China, have been spotted in a river in suburban Fengxian District.

Alien apple snails should be treated with caution.

They have been spotted in large numbers in a river in suburban Fengxian District and experts warned residents not to eat them.

The snails, one of the first alien invasive species in China,  can transfer parasites and even cause death if they not thoroughly cooked before being eaten.

Fengxian Aquatic Technology Promotion Center received reports from residents this week that the apple snails have invaded Nanhengjing River. Their pink eggs are attached to walls along the riverbank.

Many residents are unaware that the snails are poisonous, experts added.

Some of the snails might have been kept as pets in homes, Ye Junqiang, director of the center said. He added that while the snails can help to keep the river water clean, if there are too many, they could affect the river's eco-system.

“There are not only many apple snails, but also a lot of eggs, which can soon produce even more snails in the river,” he said. “If they flow to other rivers, the evasion might affect eco-balance in other areas. Water drawn from the river to farm fields may also contain the snails and affect rice yields.”

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