Dangerous Cone Snail (Video Included)

Live cone snails can be dangerous to shell-col...

Image via Wikipedia

With the common names of cone snails, cone shells or cones,  conus snails are mostly tropical in distribution. They are all venomous to one degree or another. The most dangerous species hunt fish using harpoon-like teeth and a poison gland. Others hunt and eat marine worms or molluscs.

 Many species have colorful patterning on the shell surface.
Live cone snails should be handled with care—or not handled at all—as they are capable of “stinging” humans with unpleasant results. The sting of small cones is no worse than a bee sting, but the sting of a few of the larger species of tropical cone snails can be serious, and has even occasionally been fatal to human beings.
There are over 600 different species of cone snails. Typically found in warm and tropical seas and oceans worldwide, and reaches its greatest diversity in the Western Indo-Pacific Region. However, some species of Conus are adapted to temperate environments, such as the Cape coast of South Africa, or the cool waters of southern California and are endemic to these areas.

The bright colors and patterns of cone snails are attractive to the eye, and therefore people sometimes pick up the live animals and hold them in their hand for a while. This is risky, because the snail often fires its harpoon in these situations. In the case of the larger species of cone snail, the harpoon is sometimes capable of penetrating the skin, even through gloves or wetsuits.

Learn more from Wikipedia.

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17 Responses to Dangerous Cone Snail (Video Included)

  1. Rebekah says:

    It’s amazing how many strange creatures there are, that one has never heard about before.

    They sure look beautiful, and I understand that many would be tempted to pick one up to have a closer look…

    Very interesting!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Rebakah,
      They are a beautiful “shell” and come in a variety of colours, and you just would never guess how deadly they are. Here in Queensland where I live in OZ we are taught from a very young age never to pick anything up out of the water because of the danger, we are classed as being in the tropics, and it is amazing how many beautiful things from the Ocean are dangerous.

  2. souldipper says:

    What a fascinating post, Mags! You are convincing me more and more that I shall stick with being satisfied with the beach! To think these small creatures can even be lethal through a wet suit. I was just putting water out for our hornets and wasps. As I watch them plunge and revel in fresh water, I am amazed that these insects are probably the most hurtful ones we have in our area. Not bad at all. We don’t even have poisonous snakes.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi souldipper,
      Your place sounds lovely, not having any poisonous snakes is definitely a bonus, not having to be on the lookout all the time when out walking.
      I’m glad you found the post informative.

  3. travelrat says:

    Sometimes, I get the idea that we’re not meant to swim in the ocean! 😀 That’s yet another reason I preferred mountaineering!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi travelrat,
      I love the beach although I don’t go out very far I must admit, but I do prefer a swimming pool (no sand in your swimsuit 🙂 )

  4. kymbo says:

    I well remember the first time I went to Queensland, bright, hot sun, the best beaches in the world, palm trees everywhere, but the people I was with refused to let me anywhere near the water…they said I’d be mad to swim in Queensland. Sharks, box jellyfish, rays, crabs that take you toes off, cone shells….

  5. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Amazing video! Sometimes I wonder how nature photographers manage to get these shots – they must have loads of patience. The pattern on the shell of the cone snail looks like a work of art, it’s difficult to comprehend how something so pretty could be so poisonous!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Barbara,
      I also wonder how some of these video’s are done, I suppose it is some sort of time lapse I really wouldn’t have a clue. I love the National Geographic video’s they are always done so well. It certainly is a very pretty shell, you can buy these shells here in some of the souvenir shops, although there are not a lot of the shells around, but every now and then you will see one, there not cheap, but they polish them up and they look magnificent.

  6. Val says:

    Their venom sounds horrendous, but I bet they’re incredibly good survivors, these snails. (Beautiful shells, but daft humans who pick ’em up without realising someone might be living inside!) The worst I’ve come across on an English beach is a jellyfish and I remember jumping out of their way when paddling as a kid… thankfully I’ve not been stung by any sea creature. Bees, yes. Seathingies, no. Very interesting post, Mags, and the video too.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Val,
      There are a lot of tropical animals that look very beautiful, all have some sort of venom unfortunately. Glad you like the post Val, Thank You.

  7. Pingback: Photokaleidoskop – Photographic agency» Blog Archive » Cone shell pictures

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