Snails are not necessarily the kinds of animals that people think of as being particularly special or interesting. They’re slow, slimy, and even seen as delicacies in some cultures. All in all, they’re pretty boring, right?
Wrong! As with just about any other living being on Earth, there are plenty of things that make these little invertebrates amazing if you just do some research. That’s especially true when it comes to the species known as the scaly-foot gastropod.
They may look like any other snail, but they’re hiding something incredible. When you find out what it is, you just might have to rethink your own survival techniques!
These scaly-foot gastropods, also known by their scientific name, Chrysomallon squamiferum, are some awesome little snails. They’ve adapted all sort of crazy tools for living in the depths of the world’s oceans.
Their shells are actually decked out in a layer of iron, and those little frilly parts surrounding them are mineralized scales made of iron sulfide. In other words, they are literally wearing their very own suit of armor!
The rest of their shells are made from pyrite, more commonly referred to as “fool’s gold,” which is magnetic. The metals in the shells come from the mineral-rich undersea vents in which these unique snails live. Yet that’s just the beginning! Did you know these snails could end up helping the United States win wars?
Their body armor is so formidable that the United States military is studying it in hopes of developing new technology for soldiers and vehicles. Not too bad for seemingly harmless mollusks, huh?
They’re just like tiny little tanks, if you think about it! This concept is almost similar to the way that camouflage technology was adopted by the military. (They looked to Mother Nature for inspiration for that, too.)
These little guys were first discovered approximately 1.25 miles underneath the Indian Ocean in 2001. They were huddled around hydrothermal vents that spit out water that had been super-heated by Earth’s magma.
The fact that these incredible creatures are literally magnetic cannot be emphasized enough. Be sure to keep them away from your electronic devices, because otherwise you might be in for a world of trouble!
Who would have thought that the U.S. military would be taking tips from snails, of all animals? It really makes you wonder what other bizarre, super-powered creatures are hiding in those parts of the world that have yet to be explored.
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