It was a late night in my dorm. My French homework was hurting my brain, and I just wanted to sleep. Since a friend was also tired of her statistics problems, we naturally did what two young intellectuals do.
We talked about snails.
She said snails have teeth. I said that’s crazy.
We had to find out the truth.
Our sleep deprivation and need to procrastinate ultimately led us to contact “The Snail Whisperer” via email. The following is what I learned from him.
Dr. John Stanisic, aka The Snail Whisperer, is a biodiversity scientist from Australia. He emailed me back with some insight on the wonder of snails, and his website answered many of the questions we had.
Why is Stanisic so drawn to snails?
“I find snails fascinating because it is all about discovery of new species…more than 900 in my 40-odd years of collecting,” the Queensland Museum Honorary Research Fellow said.
Why are snails so wondrous?
Well, for one, snails do have teeth. Anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000 teeth actually.
Also, their slime may work as glue on wet surfaces. They don’t really have a brain, but they’re smarter than you think. They have a single foot that’s exceptionally strong. They’re essential to the environment, and they can indicate climate change.
Since this series is about “The Wonders of One,” I must mention one snail in particular: the Steve Irwin Tree Snail. Or, as it’s known in the scientific community, Crikey steveirwini.
Stanisic said the Steve Irwin Tree Snail is his favorite. He discovered the species in 2009 and named it. It’s described by the Queensland Museum as “both dazzling and impressive.”
Before researching snails, I didn’t think much of them unless it was to make a joke about being slow. I would never have said they were “both dazzling and impressive.”
Crikey steveirwini is further described by Queensland as a snail with “a high spire and is creamy yellow with coppery brown spiral bands.”
That sounds beautiful, because it is.
Something I learned: Every creature,
even especially a snail, is important and complicated and unique.