Holy Snail Spit

by ToasterPoster on August 6, 2010

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Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I get a lot of interesting news feeds. Most are pretty boring and I tolerate them for the occasional gems. And today, my patience was rewarded with this fabulous headline:

Sea Snail Saliva Fights Pain


This story thrills me for a several reasons:

First, just try saying “Sea Snail Saliva” three times fast. Can’t be done.

Second, the story, which ran in Chemical & Engineering News, notes that the pain-relieving chemical that “snails inject into passing prey with hypodermic-needle-like teeth that shoot from their mouths like harpoons” is as effective as morphine and non-addictive.

Yeah, yeah, the potential medical applications for saliva is impressive but Hello? Snails with hypodermic-needle-like teeth? Teeth that shoot out like harpoons?   Gary the Snail doesn’t seem so harmless now, does he?  

Third, who in the hell thought to even try using sea snail saliva for anything other than digesting a snail diet? Is this was toad-licking college students grow up to do with their lives? If so, I totally hung with the wrong crowd. Seven years wasted…


I was compelled by the facts of this story to go in search of videos of snails dining.

Youtube (of course) is host to a disturbing number of videos featuring snails eating everything from mangoes and sea stars to algae and unidentifiable matter. And while none of the clips I viewed featured the aforementioned hypodermic-like teeth or harpoon action, this one does show a rather speedy snail engaged in a veritable feeding frenzy and feast. Bon appétit!


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