9 Amazing Facts About Snails

Beyond their speed

  Australian trumpets
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1.World's largest snail is the Australian trumpet (Syrinx aruanus), a sea species from the shores of northern and western Australia which can grow up to 77.2 cm (30 inches) in shell length, while the flesh weighs up to 18 kg (40lbs).

The longest snail is Parenteroxenos doglieli, a parasite in the body cavity of the sea cucumber.

Cymbium proboscidalis, from the shores of West Africa, grows up to 7-8 kg (15-17 pounds) and the body is so large that the shell remains like a beanie. Brought on ground, the snail's weight decreases to a quarter. Locals make from this snail a dish called tibuden, adding rice and fish. Some sea rabbits (which are sea snails lacking a shell) can be 30 cm (1 ft) long and weigh 6.5 kg (14 pounds).

2.The largest snail you could see in your garden is the Giant African Snail or Tiger Snail (Achatina achatina), which can be 30 cm (1 ft) long. Giant Apple Snail (Pomacea maculata) is the largest freshwater snail, with a shell 15 cm (0.5 ft) and weighing 600 g (1.5 pounds).

3.Garden snails have up to 14,175 teeth! They are all located on their tongue (radula).

4.The snails Littoraria irrorata on the eastern shores of US farm! They bite the stems of sea grass to weaken them, and then they fertilize the place with their feces. This way they favor the development of a fungus on which they feed.

5.French researchers discovered that the digestive secretions of the garden snail are effective against stomach ulcer. 10 mg of this powder led to a decrease by 42 % of the human stomach acidity. The product was also effective against chronic bronchitis.

6.The snail slime was found by American researchers to be an excellent scaring factor. Snail slime is also used in some beauty products...

7.Most ground snails are peaceful veggies (well, not exactly all), but the marine species can be top predators of the sea. They are armed with a harpoon like weapon (named toxoglossan radula, snails modified "tongue") injecting a deadly venom into their victims.

This way, they can catch in a fraction of a second fish "for dinner". Some of these venoms are the most potent on the planet, like in the case of the predatory marine snail Conus magus, from coral reefs. They can grow up to 23 cm in length and eat from marine worms, small fish, mollusks (clams and other marine snails, including other cone snails.

Its poison has a greater power than morphine, but it acts in an entirely different way. Some cone snails can kill a human being with their venom.

The snail venom impairs a particular type known as N-type calcium channels, crucial in determining some kinds of pain sensations. A pharmaceutical company has developed synthetic chemicals that also inhibit N-type calcium channels, decreasing pain. These new drugs could be employed to shut off persistent acute pain where other painkillers have not succeeded, or are not recommended, like in the case of patients with cancer or other very severe conditions.

8.In some areas, like New Guinea, the shells of sea snails were used for long as currency!

9.Some sea snail produce sulfuric acid which they use for dissolving the shells of the clams on which they feed... No need the mentions this is the most potent acid of all.

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By    5 Jan 2008, 11:23 GMT