Wednesday 12 June 2013

Elephant Snail

Image: Nuytsia@Tas
Scutus antipodes
Snails are famous for carrying their house around with them on their back. Turns out some of them travel light...

This is an Elephant Snail. A healthy, lively and perfectly fine Elephant Snail. It looks like it survived a particularly brutal stepping on. And then maybe it ate its assailant and now wears the sole of his jogging shoe as a sickeningly macabre but also hilariously ironic trophy.

Or maybe that just happens to be what they look like? It's difficult to say...

Image: WoRMS for SMEBD
Elephant Snails are a kind of Keyhole Limpet, which are snails that usually have cone-shaped shells with a little hole on top for breathing out. Elephant Snails are different in that their shell just has a little notch on one end.

Image: Nuytsia@Tas
On the head you can see a worryingly large hole for breathing in. Stamped on and shot in the head? We're going to Hell in a handcart when people are shooting snails in the head. IN A HANDCART!

Video: sensitive NAG
What's that? *blah-blah-blah, kerfuffle-kerfuffle*
Elephant Snail.

The shell on these oddballs reaches about 10 cm (4 in) long or a little more and the whole thing can be covered up by flaps on the side so it looks like a giant, black slug. Apparently they mainly show off their shell when disturbed, perhaps to scare off attackers by demonstrating the fact that they ate a guy and now they have his shoe.

They come from the coast of southern Australia and New Zealand, where they spend the day hidden among the rocks and come out at night to feed.

Image: dracophylla
They eat algae rather than inconsiderate humans, so you should be OK. But I wouldn't step on one. Just in case...

Although I'd really like to see one with a high heel on its back.


TexWisGirl said...

'they ate the guy and now they have his shoe'. :D

Joseph JG said...

Looks like it!

Anonymous said...

this is cool

Unknown said...

I have one in my tank