The name Churo refers to a giant freshwater snail present in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazonian waterways.
In terms of Peru, the churo snail is widespread in the water basins of the Amazon, Maranon, Napo and Ucayali rivers which are located in the Loreto Department; the best habitats for this snail are flood plains, swamps and all of the bodies of water that are created due to the plentiful rains.
When the dry season starts, the invertebrate tends to bury itself under the material that deposits on the bottom of the water environments where it is found, thus entering a type of hibernation phase which allows it to maintain the amount of body moisture it requires to survive.
The churo snail is active at night, when it moves to search for food; its main food consists of aquatic plants, fruit and other decaying organic material. It is protected by a shiny black coriaceous carapace which has nuances of light brown, and a light brown mollusc is concealed inside with a very viscose consistency.
The various snails are collected manually in the mud in periods when the water retreats or lowers; leaves are used to attract the snails to make them easier to catch, they are then placed in a plastic bucket where they are left to purge in water for at least 24 hours and later boiled.
The churo is used in Peruvian Amazonia as an ingredient in hot soups, for example “caldo de churos”, or they are served as an appetizer dressed with lime juice, cilantro and raw onion sliced thinly.
The indigenous communities of the Loreto jungle attribute aphrodisiac and medicinal properties to this invertebrate. For example the broth from the first boiling of the mollusc is used as a remedy for a hangover.
The “churo” is a food rich in protein, which can be used to fight anemia and infant malnutrition in the region of Loreto. Its highly nutritional aspects are still little known, for this reason it is difficult to find on the market.