Invasion of the New Zealand Mudsnails
The invasive New Zealand Mudsnail (exotic snail from New Zealand) was detected locally in Malibu Creek in 2005 and has since spread to several streams in the Santa Monica Mountains. New Zealand mudsnails are tiny aquatic snails that reproduce rapidly; one snail is capable of producing a colony of 40 million snails within one year. These invasive snails outcompete the native aquatic invertebrates (e.g. worms, bugs and snails) that make up the foundation of aquatic food webs. The loss of native invertebrates reduces the food supply for native fish, frogs, toads, and salamanders. There is no easy way to eradicate New Zealand mudsnails from a stream once they have been introduced. The most effective fight against this invasive snail is through the prevention of spread.
What can you do?
New Zealand mudsnails are tiny about 1/8 inch in size, they easy go unnoticed as they can hitch hike on anything; shoes, clothes, fishing equipment, bicycles, the fur of dogs and horses and they can survive outside of the water for up to 60 days in damp conditions.
- Try not to walk through streams, stay on designated trails
- If you do get wet, do not travel from one stream to another with the same shoes, clothes, bicycle, or fishing equipment
- Keep your dogs and horses out of the streams
- Treat equipment, shoes and clothes before visiting another stream. For shoes, clothes and small equipment, the best practice seems to be freezing for a minimum of 36 hours. For bicycles, brush the tires clean and make sure they are dry for a couple of days before crossing another stream or simply carry your bike over stream crossings and freeze your shoes to reduce mudsnail spread