Apple Snails/Credit: LSU Ag Center
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In Louisiana, we enjoy our seared alligator, boiled crawfish, frog legs and other delicacies that some might classify as “exotic.”
But scientists say there’s a local mollusk that adventurous cooks should approach with extreme caution.
Apple snails, also known as Pomacea maculata, are an invasive species in Louisiana, according to the LSU AgCenter. Experts say their eggs can pose a hazard to humans if not handled properly.
The eggs are bright pink masses that slugs deposit on structures and plants that partially emerge from the water. The eggs contain a protein neurotoxin called PcPV2, which can kill mice and cause skin and eye irritation in humans.
If you want to fry a few apple snails, you have to be very careful. The snails must be thoroughly cooked and properly cleaned, removing all intestinal material. AgCenter experts warn, “Raw or undercooked snails can harbor rat lungworm, a parasite that can cause potentially fatal eosinophilic meningitis.”
If you are not sure how to cook the molluscs, it is advisable to avoid it.
The snails reproduce rapidly and are known to reach high population densities in freshwater habitats such as rivers, bays, ponds, and swamps.
The AgCenter says, “The destruction of the eggs should be done using a device to knock egg masses into the water where they will be prevented from hatching,” and “skin exposed to apple snail eggs should be washed immediately.”
“Invasive species” in Louisiana are considered edible but potentially deadly to humans
Click here for more information on apple snails.