The Most Dangerous Snail In The World

There is a seemingly endless panoply of animals that could absolutely kill you if they felt so inclined. They gift us with a king's bounty of night terrors and more than enough reasons to never go outside again, as images of bear maulings and shark attacks dance in our heads like so many macabre visions of sugarplums. 

And for anyone out there that's bored with the more pedestrian examples of creatures with the potential to effortlessly slaughter each and every one of us, good news: snails can kill you. Not all of them, of course. The ones found in most front yards are generally just slugs with helmets on their backs, content to eat grass, take snail naps, and ignore us. But right now, somewhere in the warm waters of the Californian coast, there is a species of snail with the means, the motivation, and the capacity for evil (maybe, we don't actually know what drives them) to drop you like a sack of astonishingly mortal potatoes.

The snails have harpoons now. Tell the others.

A nickname can be a great way to get to know somebody, so let's start with that. The geography cone snail is known colloquially as "the cigarette snail," because receiving their sting leaves a person with about enough time to light up one last Lucky before they die. Its venom is administered through the use of a specialized barbed tooth which it deploys from its proboscis like a harpoon. National Geographic states that this tooth contains over a hundred different poisons, more than can be found in any other creature on the planet. Since the cone snail tends to bury itself in the sand when hunting, your odds of spotting it before it shuffles your mortal coil for you are slim to none. 

And for anyone thinking "where there's life, there's hope," you just don't know snails. There's no known antidote for cone snail venom. If you get stung, the standard operating procedure during your upcoming hospital visit will be to try and keep you alive until the poison works itself out of your system, with emphasis on treating your individual symptoms. These will include, per WebMD, intense pain, paralysis, and respiratory failure. Gary from Spongebob just keeps getting more and more metal, you guys.