I am very fond of snails. Not to eat. They are quite safe from my culinary ambitions, thank you very much.
Sporting tentacles like miniature gelatinous giraffes, I cannot bring myself to terminate them. They are so different to their cousins from the wrong side of the tracks, the slugs, who venture out into the dangerous world at a slug’s pace not even equipped with a helmet. One of the grossest things, like a fat greasy grey-green scale model of Jabba the Hutt, slugs are not in the same league as their armoured cousins.
One of the most interesting things about snails is their love life. About a third of snail species have the ability to inject darts into their partner. These darts chiefly consist of either calcium carbonate or chitin, with a mucus-like “filling”. This improves their chances of reproduction, among other things.
The snail on the right has been injected with a love dart
What’s even more exciting is that snails are hermaphrodite, and can take it in turns to dart each other over a lovemaking session that can last up to two and a half hours. Talk about staying power!
These love darts have different shapes, dependant on the snail species, and can resemble arrows or mini asparagus. The German word for the snail’s love dart is Liebespfeil, “love arrow”.
The garden snail, Helix aspersa, is native to Greece, and could have given rise to the idea of Cupid with his quiver of arrows.
Imagine how cool it would be if you had the ability to shoot darts into your partner without hurting them. It sure could add spice to your relationship!
Having your eyes at the end of tentacles, like a permanent periscope, would also be pretty cool, especially if you wanted to see what everyone was looking at through the back of a crowd. You may then resemble Jar Jar Binks, but with a longer stem.
Snails are culturally popular. Take a look at this lovely whimsical statue in Almaty:
Snails take life rather slowly, with the exception of the racing snail from The Neverending Story. This would suit some of us just fine!
Many of us would really like to withdraw into a built-in shell from time to time and recharge our batteries while the danger passes outside.