Snail attack

I'm just going to quote from the YouTube description of this video.

Native snails in NZ are big, mean and carnivorous. They hunt their prey by stealth. When the attack comes, it is sudden, ruthless and fatal.

This is the best thing I've heard since the guy from the Smithsonian National Zoo told me about the time he was bitten by a sloth, a story which included the words, "It all happened so fast."


Science News Blog, via Ed Yong



  1. I don’t know which would be grosser. Coming back as the worm or coming back as the snail that has to eat worms.

    Like a little mucous covered goo fight.

  2. why was that worm so, uh, sluggish? I’ve seen them wriggling around like mad, with more strength than you might expect from a worm. Was it paralyzed somehow?

  3. Don’t knock sloths. They may look slow and unthreatening, but those claws they hang from the branches with are vicious. Like any herbivore, when they’re threatened they can be as nasty and fast as any predator. How do you think they survive?

  4. Did I see that right? It barfed up its stomach lining, enveloped the worm and swallowed most of it in about 1/10 of a second.

    Nature is cool.

  5. Always thought these would make cool pets but are I believe protected species.
    I always tell my friends of the “Giant Carnivorous Land Snails” of New Zealand. Some of the Earth Worms make it too 1 meter too.

  6. Neat! He can bend his eyestalks around to watch himself eating! Saves him from having to use a mirror while doing whatever the snail equivalent of shaving is too.

  7. Woah. That squicked me out way more than I expected. I’ll never look at snails the same way again.

  8. What ever happened to monster movies involving freakishly overgrown insects and the like (e.g. Them!)?

    There have been plenty of movies with insect-inspired monsters and aliens, but unless you’re really, really good (e.g. Alien, The Thing) they’re not going to be very interesting compared to real life, as this video proves.

    Would a 30-foot tall version of this snail not be terrifying? You wouldn’t even have to change the colors or the features, it’s already stereotypical movie monster colored! Plus, it’s got an impenetrable shell that the scientist lead will need to figure out how to defeat.

  9. I remember as an eight year old finding a large snail in our garden, identifying it as one of these guys, and finding another, smaller snail to feed to it.

    Interestingly, it had a completely different way of feeding to the NZ snail shown here. N. caffra attaches its mouth to the back of its prey, rasps a hold in its skin, then sucks its guts out in one quick go. The snail I have it actually popped, and the carnivore licked up the remnants…

  10. As a nature loving Kiwi, I feel the need to elaborate on this controversial critter…
    Firstly the snail you see is a Powelliphanta Snail. They are very rare – and are hidden away in New Zealand’s forests and grasslands. There are at least 21 species and 51 sub-species of Powelliphanta snails – which represent some of the most distinctive invertebrates in New Zealand and range from the microscopic to the massive (up to 9 cm across).
    But most people here would never ever see one as they are very rare and hidden and unless you are hiking in the right area and looking in the right spot it just wouldn’t happen. It’s even illegal to take the shells of these endangered snails.
    Next – this particular snail is obviously being kept in captivity on a bed of sphagnum moss. They don’t do well when this happens. In 2006 the Department of Conservation ordered the removal by hand of up to 250 snails from a proposed mining site in my home town to ‘keep the species safe’. They wanted to relocate them to a new area. The results have been dismal. They never released them, the snails were kept in ice cream containers in refrigerators and those poor critters raised in captivity have died of fungal infections and none have survived past the second generation.
    It was a really contentious issue at the time – do you stop a new mine that will give people work for the sake of a few giant snails?
    You can

  11. At least slugs know better than to engage in assault…

    And that’s the punchline of my favorite joke: A snail gets mugged by two turtles. When asked to describe his assailants, he replies “Gee, it all happened so fast.”

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