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Originally published Friday, February 25, 2011 at 9:18 PM

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Pesky snails face deep-freeze death

Washington state officials have found a good use for the cold wave — killing snails.

The Olympian reports that the state is lowering the water level in Capitol Lake to freeze to death some of the New Zealand mudsnails that infest the Olympia lake.

Freezing isn’t expected to eliminate the invasive species, which multiply rapidly, are the size of a grain of rice and have no natural predators.

But officials say a similar drawdown of the lake in December 2009 killed 98 percent of the snails in test areas.

The lake is closed to boating and other uses because of the danger of spreading the snails, which can overwhelm freshwater habitats for native species.

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