When I first saw a picture of a Fire Snail, I was amazed at how different it was from the snails that I’m used to seeing by my house. It’s so much bigger! The colour is so red. So goth-looking and romantic looking, and almost… sexy looking.
Is that weird? I think kinda, yeah.
Anyways, the Fire Snail, which can only be found in a 100km-ish radius in a specific area of Malaysia, looks like it should be Deadpool’s pet. Let’s explore this gangster-looking slug and learn a little bit more, shall we?
What is the Fire Snail?
Not to be confused with snail mail, the Fire Snail, also known as Platymma tweediei is the largest land snail to be found in Peninsular Malaysia. This snail lives exclusively in the mountainous forests there. It’s the one-and-only species in the genus Platymma.
The fact that it’s the only of its kind contributes to its notoriety in the snail community. Yes, that’s right folks. There is a “snail community”. People collect these slimy beasts because they’re rare, beautiful, and large.
Fire Snail Appearance
This rare type of snail is characterized by its black shell and orange to bright red ‘foot’. A snail is characterized as a gastropod. Slugs are also gastropods, although I feel like snails got a better deal because they have a pretty shell.
Gastropods usually have a well-defined head, with two or four sensory tentacles. This is where the eyes are! The ventral foot of a snail is strong and muscular. They use mucus to enable them to crawl over rough surfaces. This slimy foot also helps to keep the snail’s soft body from drying out.
The distinctive black shell of the Fire Snail makes it look even more gangster, tbh. The shell can grow up to 7cm in diameter, although it seems even bigger than that.
Because of this, the Fire Snail is threatened by a combination of habitat loss and also poachers. The vivid colours make the snail an attractive pet for collectors.
Keeping The Fire Snail As A Pet
I hope we can agree that the Fire Snail should not be kept as a pet.
They are extremely hard to care for. This particular snail can’t just be left on a tree or in a fake environment inside a glass case. I mean, I don’t think any snail should be kept in a fake environment inside a glass case, but I digress. I know it’s a thing, I just think it’s sad.
When these snails are kept as pets, they usually die. Fire Snails only survive in very cool and humid conditions. The humidity in the town that’s close to the region where they thrive is a whopping 79%!
Sadly, the mystical, creepy-yet-beautiful Fire Snail is a prized possession for exotic pet keepers.
Where To Find Fire Snails
As discussed, you can find Fire Snails around a 100km radius of a small, mountainous region in Malaysia. The altitude is an important factor as well. This snail can only thrive in tropical forest areas with altitudes in excess of 1,000 meters.
To date, it’s not clear whether they exist in isolation, or their habitat covers the mountainous areas of the northern Peninsula in general. Because it’s one of the rarest snail species in the world, it’s taboo to keep them. Because of this, it’s very hard to find a place where you can see one in real life.
Fire Snail vs Vampire Snail
The goth-like appearance of the Fire Snail has lead to some confusion. Calling this snail a vampire would make perfect sense. Being red and black, it looks like it might suck blood.
But it doesn’t.
The real Vampire Snail is actually an underwater snail. This species of sea snail feeds on the blood of fish when they’re asleep. You can find this underwater species in coral areas of temperate seas.
To add to their vampiric nature, the Vampire Snail has a modified mouthpart made up of tiny scalpels that can slice flesh. Then, at the end of their mouth is a mounted proboscis which helps them suck the blood.
In addition to this, they don’t even need to be very close in order to suck blood. Their proboscis can stretch up to three times their body length. This allows them to bypass many fish’s defences to blood sucking.
The Fire Snail only looks like a vampire, so make sure you don’t confuse the two!
If you want to see a really cool video of a Fire Snail eating, check this out!