Chinese Mystery Snails
Description: Chinese mystery snails are distinctively large; at the size of a walnut or golf ball, they are half-again as large as Maine’s largest native freshwater snail. Though they spend a good portion of their lives under the water surface, half buried in the bottom sediments, Chinese mystery snails may also be encountered with their trap doors sealed up tight, floating along at the water’s surface. When these large snails die, they often wash up on shore, where their dark, olive-colored shells can be easily seen and (unpleasantly) smelled.
Habitat: Chinese mystery snails prefer the quiet water of lakes, ponds, roadside ditches and slower portions of streams.
Origin and U.S. Range: Chinese mystery snails, native to parts of Southeast Asia, were brought to this country as a food source for Asian markets. It is believed that imported snails were intentionally released in some areas to create a locally-harvestable supply. Since their introduction, Chinese mystery snails have spread too many parts of the United States, and can now be found in a number of Maine lakes and ponds.