Self-cloning mutant crayfish have taken over a cemetery in Belgium.
Hundreds of the marbled crayfish, which are always female, have invaded the historic Schoonselhof cemetery in Antwerp, the Brussels Times reported.
“It’s impossible to round up all of them. It’s like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble,” Kevin Scheers, of the Flemish Institute for Nature and Woodland Research, told the outlet.
The creepy crustaceans experienced a mutation around 25 years ago that allows them to quickly reproduce by themselves, enabling entire populations to spring up from a single one and dominate lakes, ponds and rivers.
The 4-inch creatures then feed on plants, snails and amphibians, depriving fish and other aquatic species of food sources.
Once owned by German pet collectors in the 1990s, they do not naturally occur in the wild, the outlet reported.
So it’s likely that the latest invasion started with one that escaped from someone’s home, Scheers said.
“Someone apparently had the animal in their aquarium, and then set it free in a canal,” Scheers told the Brussels Times.
“Often people get tired of their animals or the marbled crayfish population is getting too large at home.”
The European Union in 2014 banned owning or releasing the crayfish in the wild.
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