This innocuous little creature might seem a strange choice for the top spot. Is it beautiful? Sure, its the kind of thing your auntie might keep on the bathroom windowsill. But dangerous? Surely not. The textile cone snail is actually incredibly dangerous, to the extent that humans should make a point of not handling them unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, uninformed beachcombers may well decide to pick one up because of the attractive shell. The creature, also called the Cloth of Gold cone, produces a venom called conotoxin when hunting or threatened. The substance is injected via an incredibly fast-moving dart, at which point a human would likely have around two hours to live. There is currently no antivenom for the textile cones neurotoxin, which causes paralysis across the whole body, including the lungs. One drop of conotoxin can kill over a dozen humans, usually via suffocation or heart attack. So, while most gaudily patterned sea creatures are trying to ward off threats with their markings, its the beauty of the Cloth of Gold cone that actually attracts unsuspecting humans towards it. Youll never look at aunties shell collection in quite the same way. Want to write for What Culture Science? Click here to find out how you could get paid to write about what you love.Love all things science? Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for your next fix.
Peter Austin initially joined WhatCulture as an occasional contributor to our Film, Gaming and Science sections, but made the mistake of telling us that he'd been making videos in his bedroom for over a decade. Since then he's been a vital member of our YouTube team and routinely sets the standard for smart-casual wear in the office.