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January 24, 2014 - Stephen Browne
I just did an article on aquatic invasive species that are making a nuisance of themselves in the state.
I came here about two-and-a-half years ago, so I just missed the curly leaf pondweed infestation of Lake Benton. I've been told it choked the surface of the lake to the point a fish leaping out of the water would land on the weedy mat unable to get back in.
Zebra and quagga mussels reproduce explosively and deprive the native fish species of food. And when they start to wash ashore they can carpet shorelines with razor-sharp shells like a beach of broken glass.
But thank goodness we're never going to have to suffer this tropical invader!
Giant African land snails (Lissachatina fulica) grow up to a foot long and weigh as much as a pound. They evidently got to Hawaii somehow where they are a major pest. They eat pretty much every plant we like to grow - and houses. They chow down on stucco to get the calcium to build their eight inch shells.
When they cross roads in large numbers they get crushed by cars. Instant oil slick!
They're hermaphrodites, which means when two mate, they both lay eggs.
Did I mention they carry disease? The rat lungworm to be exact. The name is probably all you really want to know about that.
They are edible, and safe enough if you cook them thoroughly.
So what? I've had escargot and in my humble opinion they have the texture of rubber and the only taste comes from the delicious shallot butter they're served with. I'll take a piece of toast and some of that butter instead please.
Some idiot kid on vacation picked some up and took them to Florida. It took seven years to eradicate them. Now they're back somehow.
The only good thing about these icky creatures is, they're tropical. They're never going to show up in any place with real winters.
Hope that makes you feel better about the cold.
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Giant African snail transported to Hawaii and Florida