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Snail defends itself by whacking predators with its shell

Japanese and Russian snail species use the only weapon nature gave them to push attacking beetles out of the way.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When all you have is your heavy snail shell, darn right, you're gonna use it to defend yourself -- at least that's the case for two species of snail.

In a study published in November by Scientific Reports, researchers found that two types of snails are unlike most of their kind, which generally withdraw into their shells to hide from attackers.

The Japanese snail Ezohelix gaines and the Russian Karaftohelix selskii were witnessed repeatedly hitting predators with their shells, knocking them flat.

On Friday, National Geographic shared the above video, which shows one of the Japanese snails defending itself in just such a way from a carabid beetle. There's a little bit of showmanship of the sort you might see in the UFC Octagon going on here, as the snail demonstrates some real action with its swinging motion.

The researchers conclude that the type of shell on a snail helps determine its best defense options, and certain snails may have evolved specifically to be better able to fight off predators.

You hear that, beetles? The snails are armed and dangerous. Walk for your lives!