One slip and you're dead!
July 2, 2004 5:48 AM   Subscribe

One slip and you're dead!
Marine cone snails are among the most venomous animals in existence, some producing as many as 100 different toxins. Due to their unique properties, the toxins are in hot demand for neuroscience research. Most researchers obtain the toxins from dead specimens, but one upstate New York biochemist is trying to farm them. Milking time is dangerous...
posted by Irontom (13 comments total)
Not all of us in upstate NY are this crazy.
posted by tommasz at 6:05 AM on July 2, 2004

Amazing. A freakin' SNAIL, of all things. The article says that there are at least 30 cases of humans being killed by these things. Can you imagine? Geez...death by snail. Ugh.
posted by davidmsc at 6:08 AM on July 2, 2004

It's coming right for us!
posted by spazzm at 6:52 AM on July 2, 2004

[this is freaky] Awesome link, Irontom.
posted by shoepal at 6:54 AM on July 2, 2004

"For now, sex in the cone snail Hilton remains the stuff of Bingham’s dreams."

Heh. Lethal nocturnal emissions...
posted by stonerose at 7:24 AM on July 2, 2004

Cool! I used to go to Clarkson, and if you think that's crazy, let me tell you Wes Craven used to teach there, and the Nightmare On Elm Street & People Under The Stairs stories are based on frat stories at Clarkson. In fact there is an Elm Street in Potsdam, and Snell Hall is located there, along with a bunch of frats.
posted by riffola at 7:29 AM on July 2, 2004

Fascinating. More on cone shells here, including a short film and/or animated .gif of envenomation.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:41 AM on July 2, 2004

Great link - thx!
posted by widdershins at 8:53 AM on July 2, 2004

"Caution - venomous snails" sounds like a warning straight out of Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy.
posted by weston at 9:23 AM on July 2, 2004

My mom works at Clarkson, as a librarian. Such a sad little library for anything but engineering texts. But that's not her fault. Yeah, it's cool to see Clarkson getting some press. North Country represent!
posted by skoosh at 10:47 AM on July 2, 2004

A friend of mine is looking into crawfish farming. I sent him the link. heh-heh
posted by wsg at 11:29 AM on July 2, 2004

I recently read this collection of stories, the second one of which is about a man on an island and his interaction with the cone snails. It's good stuff.
posted by apathy0o0 at 1:34 PM on July 2, 2004

Ah, death by snail!

The snail made a splash as it entered the sea. To drown or to be eaten alive? the professor wondered. He was waist-deep when he stumbled, waist-deep but head under when the snail crashed down upon him, and he realized as the thousands of pairs of teeth began to gnaw at his back, that his fate was both to drown and to be chewed to death.

(Patricia Highsmith, The Quest for Blank Claveringi)
posted by verstegan at 1:47 PM on July 2, 2004

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