Snail amuses itself with a carrot

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/07/snail-amuses-itself-with-a-car.html

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Do snails masturbate?

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It is clearly baton twirling

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If i had to guess the snail was curious about the carrot, especially if they’ve never encountered something like it. You can see toward the end the snail picks up a rock and clearly moves it around and tosses it aside, then goes back to moving the carrot about. You could equate curiosity as a state of play, but i wouldn’t necessarily say that the snail was being playful per se.

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Honestly, it just looks like the snail got turned upside down and is trying to crawl along the carrot stick, except the stick is moving instead of the snail, and the snail is too dumb to figure out it needs to do something different to right itself.

It may be a mollusk, but it ain’t no octopus.

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Actually, the snail is “tasting” the carrot. It is inspecting the outside of it for edible portions. The carrot probably has some soft areas on the surface that the snail is inspecting.

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This is exactly how I eat corn, and also why I’m no longer invited to Thanksgiving dinner.

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Ab workout. Snails like to be strong too.

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its a snail treadmill you can eat!

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Try giving them some frozen concentrated orange juice.

You know, like they say, a mollusk gotta play.

What, you never heard that?

I had an aquarium snail that would climb up the aeration tube, slip into the bubble stream, and ride the top of outflow bubbles like it was surfing. When it fell off, it would crawl back to the tube, climb up it, and repeat. Maybe it just liked the feel of the bubbles or maybe the bubbles gave it a hit of oxygen or removed parasites or something but . . . it sure as heck looked like it was having fun.

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On the face of it, the “playing” story is a bit glib, because it implies the snail is experiencing the situation in human ways that it obviously isn’t capable of. Snails are just machines for licking the world around them and that’s what it’s doing.

But then, the division of “useful” and “playful” activity is only an artificial tool, created to shape natural beings into industrial workers. In all other cases we should reject it. Confucius he say, “the twittering yellow bird rests on a corner of the mound. When it rests, it knows where to rest. Is it possible that a man should not be the equal of this bird?”

If “play” means doing stuff purely for the sake of it, and not for any evolutionary purpose (food / sex / defense), that’s self-contradictory. By that definition, evolution itself is “play” – organisms try random new stuff “for no reason”, and those experiments are what natural selection acts upon.

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