Published: Nov 06, 2013 10:30 PM EST
Updated: Nov 06, 2013 11:43 PM EST

FORT MYERS, FL.--Scientists say a strange and deceiving sight is invading southwest Florida and it looks just like bubble gum.

But, watch your pets and kids around this stuff because they could actually be toxic snail eggs.

They're called Island Apple Snails and grow to about the size of your palm.
Scientists say they're invading southwest Florida...and could be extremely dangerous for your family and your pets.

"The eggs of a very closely related species is known to have a very toxic protein that can kill mice in experiments," said FGCU scientist Dr. James Douglass.

The eggs definitely stand out because they are bright pink and look somewhat like bubble gum.

The snails actually live in the water, but come out just to lay their eggs. One viewer sent us photos of the eggs all over trees and sidewalks off McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers.

"We're pretty aware of all the wildlife around here, but I have never heard anything about it before," said resident Doug Henderson.

Scientists at FGCU studying the snails say they reproduce at least once a week.

"If they break open they have a fluid which carries the actual neurotoxin in it," said grad student Shannan McAskill.
     
"If a small child got a hold of it, I would take them to emergency care," she said.

If if you have pets keep them away from these toxic eggs.

"In addition to the poisonous affects of their eggs, the snails themselves carry a parasite called rat lungworm," said Douglass.