The cone snail is a carnivorous sea snail, and one of the most venomous creatures in the world. It uses its venom for defense and for hunting. However, it only attacks humans if it is disturbed.
The cone snail has a specialized structure called a radula, which holds modified harpoon-like teeth, which the snail can attach to a thin, hollow tube, called a proboscis. The snail then fires this at its victim to inject the venom, and reels the prey back in. The attack is one of the fastest in the animal kingdom, lasting just milliseconds. The venom paralyses the victim, and the snail to swallows it whole. The snail then regurgitates any indigestible matter (like scales and spines).
There are more than 600 species of cone snails, ranging from 0.5 to 9 inches (1.3 to 23 centimeters) long. Cone snails are classified into three categories: fish eaters (piscivores), worm eaters (vermivores) and mollusk/snail eaters (molluscivores).
The Cone Snail is one of ’25 of the Most Poisonous or Venomous Animals in the World’
View the complete list of 25 poisonous animals.
World’s Weirdest : Killer Cone Snail
This is by NatGeoWild, it shows a cone snail preying on a nearby fish.
Cone Sea Shell – Geographis Cone
slk320k brings us some great footage of the cone snail.
NATURE | The Venom Cure | Over in a Flash | PBS
More footage and interesting facts about the cone snail, called a cone shell here, from PBS.
Killer Cone Snails
More information from National Geographic on this unexpected killer.