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Get Ready to Meet The Next Nope - The Zombie Snail

Ok get ready for it internet. The zombie snail is back. After bursting onto the viral internet scene back in 2012, when National Geographic posted a video about the species. 2 years later, Wired did an article 2 years later on the natural phenomenon, dubbing these gastropods "Disco Zombies". They have taken the internet by storm, with Twitter blowing up with #nope hashtags after seeing the creepy crawly creature. 

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    Before

    Zombie Snail waiting to get eaten by a bird
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    After

    Zombie Snail waiting to get eaten by a bird
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    Snail Zombies from the Lost Planet

    Zombie Snail waiting to get eaten by a bird
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    The Parasite of Nightmares

    Zombie Snail waiting to get eaten by a bird

    The  Leucochloridium paradoxum, or green-banded broodsac, is a parasitic worm belonging to the same group as flatworms. Interestingly, each generation serves a different purpose, as one infects the snail, and the next in turn infect the bird that eats the zombie snail. The bird poops out the eggs, and then another snail will eat the poop and infect itself with the parasite, starting the process all over again. One quick, simple, horrifying circle of parasitic life.


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    Something out of a Eldritch Pit of Horrors

    Zombie Snail waiting to get eaten by a bird

    This specific parasite, which reignited the internet with a viral video taken by travelers in Taiwan recently, looked like it had flashing lights on its head, described as 'multicolored neon lights'. The parasite first invades the snail's eye-stalk, before beginning to pulsate rapidly inside, mimicking the movements of worms and caterpillars to attract birds. But that isn't all. Not only does it take over the eye-stalks, but also the motor functions of the snail, forcing it to go into bright areas easily visible to birds, with the goal of a bird eating the parasite along with the snail. 


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    Can the Snail Survive?

    Zombie Snail waiting to get eaten by a bird

    Sometimes , the parasites do not succeed in attracting birds to eat them, and the eye-stalks of the snail burst, spilling out the parasites onto the ground, where they will quickly dry up sans another ready host. The snails in the meantime, will regrow the lost stalks, and even regain the ability to reproduce again, giving the parasites even more hosts to infect, and so on and so on forever.


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    Video de la Cringe

    This it the entire encounter with the Raving Nope Snail in Taiwan. Just try to finish the video without feeling at least slightly squeamish.

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