The killer snails often don't kill, Harrie confesses. They wound. They follow the pest snail's slime trail and attack it while it's laying eggs, he said, twisting into the shell like a screw. "Sometimes the pests survive the attack, but when they do, they're clinging to the wall with their wounds," he says. "That's an inactive snail."
It's also one that can't procreate.
"Are you sure these guys will win?" says one of the many curious who stop at Harrie's booth, pointing skeptically at some of the inert little creatures.
"It's inevitable," Harrie says. "You see, he doesn't fight fair."
Serious gardeners are impressed. "I have a lot of snails," says Reiko Kawasaka, a San Gabriel woman who has just bought two vats of killers. "They eat up all the aspidistra and the dahlias and even the marigolds. I used a lot of chemicals before, but I was afraid they'd seep into the soil."
Ron and Betty Edgerly have seen a pest snail almost as big as his fist in their Glendora yard. "They strip the flowers and leaves," said Betty. "Have chemicals worked? Not really. We still have snails."
"Buy a whole lot," said Ryan Bushik, 10, to his mother, who described the boy as the "snail patrol" in her Buena Park garden.
"He loves stomping on them," said Julie Bushik.
Harrie looks admiringly at his little killers. "It's basically just a selfish little animal," said Harrie, tucking the $20-bills bills into his pocket. "It won't share its territory with other mollusks."
WHAT ARE KILLER SNAILS? Predatory snails used to control pest snail populations
Feed on dead plant matter but not on live plants.
Attack and eat pest snails as a territorial behavior.