On our pirate ship, we are careful sailors. We are sure to check our boat for any critters that may be tagging along from warmer waters. We are always sure to dry our keel, scrape our gunwale, and wash our … uh – rudder?
But someone was not so careful. Don’t freak out, but Antrim County is being invaded.
Look at this little bastard:
That is Potamopyrgus antipodarum, or a New Zealand mudsnail. These things can go straight to hell, in this blog’s opinion. They are invasive and can do a lot of damage to the lakes and streams that they invade.
These assholes are tiny – 4 to 6 millimetres. They get transported from lakes and streams to other lakes and streams by attaching themselves to clothing, boats, and fishing tackle.
And guess what? They’re here.
Invasive species experts discovered that the mudsnails have found their way to the mouth of the Shanty creek. Of course, the Shanty runs into the Grass River, and on to the Chain of Lakes.
Well, these little pricks may not look very imposing, but they wreak havoc on an ecosystem. One snail can produce a colony that can grow to 40 million. How can one snail do that? They don’t have sex! Instead, these things do this weird cloning thing. One virgin snail can produce 200 offspring a year. Then, those offspring produce more, and before you know it, there are millions!
These snails are like incels on the internet. They never have sex, they’re somehow multiplying, and they are ruining everything!
These things love to eat algae. Why is that a big deal? Well, when you have millions of algae-eating snails invade a river system, there wont be much algae left for anything else. Insects eat algae, and fish eat those insects for nourishment. When the snails take over, they monopolize the algae and create a virtual food desert. There will be nothing left for the fish to eat.
Okay. Maybe freak out a little bit.
So, why don’t the fish just eat the snails? Well, they sometimes do, but it is useless. The snails have a very hard shell that is equipped with a type of trap door that they can hide within. A fish will eat the snail, it will go through the digestive system, get shit out the other end, and the snail will be fully intact. The snail will then resume its normal life of eating algae and not having sex, as if nothing ever happened.
This situation is similar to how we got Josh Watrous. Somebody stepped in something, tracked it in, and now we can’t get rid of it.
Speaking of commissioners, can we please erect a barrier that keeps politician Jarris Rubingh away from this subject. He’s already declared himself an animal expert, is concerned about the dangers of invasive species programs, and he is very interested in defunding millages. It is only a matter of time before he starts sniffing around the Conservation District and their funding.
There are things that we can do:
- Practice decontamination – guide here
- Support the good work of the Conservation District’s CISMA program
- Grass River Natural Area has a program monitoring streams. They recruit and train volunteers to help out.
- Run interference to keep the Board of Commissioners away from these programs. Offer them worthless MAGA gear to go away, or gift certificates to Friske Orchards, or MyPillows. Whatever it takes!
Finally, have sex. Lots of sex. This probably won’t accomplish much, but the snails can’t do it. So, it seems like a good thing to do. May be it will scare them away or something.
Everybody have a good day. Except for mudsnails. Mudsnails can piss off. Little bastards.