Zombies are real! And no I am not taking a leaf out Sam and Dean’s book! (Clueless?… Google Supernatural TV show series).
Zombies really do exist in nature. So it was a walk in the jungle like any other…errr… this is actually a very wrong statement. Because any walk in the jungle is never like any other jungle walk.
Weird Things Happen
Anyway, so getting on with the story here… on a very remarkable jungle trail, we came across a snail on a leaf that was displaying very bizarre behaviour. I say bizarre because generally when we see snails, they are either lazily snoozing somewhere or making their way across to someplace at their own pace. This one was waving or rather pulsating what looked like its tentacle back and forth. It looked so fascinating that we took a video. I showed around the video to a few friends and searched for “weird snail behaviour” but it all came to nothing. And here is the video link for your viewing pleasure – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_nxUQcxzw0
However, the thing about wildlife enthusiasts though is that they are like a dog with a bone when they come across anything weird and a few weeks later, I happened to mention this weird behaviour to another group of friends and showed them the video. I got lucky there and got a lead that it might be a Zombie Snail. Needless to say, that had me googling the term Zombie Snail in double quick time and bingo, that was the right answer.
The imagination of Nature is so much grander than the imagination of Human Beings.
So the story behind the snail’s weird behaviour was that the poor sod had been a victim of a parasite that was making it do things as per its bidding. The snail was possessed and like a Zombie, had no will of its own.
Now what the parasite wants is just what every creature wants, which is to multiply. So it takes over the snail’s brain and engorges its tentacles making them look like Maggots. And then it makes the snail expose itself in the open and makes the tentacles pulsate to draw attention to it.
Maggots are the favorite food of birds and that is parasite’s next desired destination. The birds eat the snail thinking it to be a maggot and the parasite thus gets to its desired destination. The parasite then happily multiplies and feeds inside the bird’s body. And now you may wonder… what next?
Well… Shit completes the cycle. Yes, I mean it. The parasite passes out in the bird’s dropping and guess who feeds on bird shit? The snails, of course! So snails feeding on the infected bird droppings again turn into zombies and so the cycle goes on and on…
PS: For those who would prefer a very formal version of the Zombie Snail phenomenon, here is the link to a very good National Geographic video http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/worlds-deadliest/deadliest-zombie-snails?source=relatedvideo