From: Associated Press
Published March 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Damaging Alien Snail Found in Georgia

BLACKSHEAR, Ga. — A voracious, fast-breeding South American snail that is a problem in four states and Indonesia has been discovered for the first time in Georgia, officials say.

The single alien snail was found along the Alabaha River in southeastern Georgia's Pierce County last month, wildlife officials said. It was identified as a channeled apple snail, similar to those raising environmental concerns in at least nine Florida counties.

With yellow-to-brown shells that can grow to the size of a baseball, the large snails ravage many types of aquatic plants that provide food and shelter for native species. They can multiply quickly because they lay thousands of eggs and have no natural enemies.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources biologists believe the snail found near Blackshear could have been dumped from an aquarium.

"This discovery is one of particular interest because of the invasive nature of the species," said Jon Ambrose, assistant chief of DNR's Non-game Wildlife and Natural Heritage Section. "Because of the array of problems that can arise from releasing non-native species into Georgia's waters, we want to stress that this is not a responsible practice for pet owners."

Biologists hope Georgia's winters, which are slightly colder than Florida's, will keep any more of the foreign snails out of the Peach State.

DNR biologists searched the site along the Alabaha, a tributary of the Satilla River, again last weekend. They found no other channeled apple snails, but may return for a more exhaustive search, officials said.

Source: Associated Press

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