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Incredible 'Fire Snails' Can Only Be Found Within A 62-Mile Radius In Malaysia

Amy Pilkington 8 May 2020

In the world of creepy crawlies, opinions can vary wildly on what species are cute and which are a big ol' nope. In a general sense, though, I think I can safely say that snails often fall closer to cute.

This is true for me, since my general rule is that the more legs the species has, the farther I want to be away from it. (Really feeling this right now, since it's centipede season and I found one in my kitchen this morning.)

So snails are easily on the positive end of the spectrum, since they have a single foot.

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(Yes, what we think of as their "body" is actually their foot.)

Still, giant snails stretch the definition of cute for me, and these amazing, giant fire snails are stretching it even more.

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I wouldn't call these Platymma tweediei "cute", but they are pretty damn cool.

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The vibrant red against the deep black is really striking.

Unfortunately, these snails are so rare that very few people will ever see one in person, let alone hold one.

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That's because fire snails can only be found in one place on Earth, the Peninsula of Malaysia.

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And to make it even more difficult, they've only ever been spotted within a 100km (approx. 62 miles) radius in the Cameron Highlands, and only at elevations higher than 1,000 meters (approx. 3281 feet) above sea level.

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Additionally, while there have been attempts to breed them as pets, they are incredibly difficult to care for in captivity.

Their preferred climate is cool in temperature, but very humid, which is a tough balance to maintain. While there are plenty of stories of people smuggling specimens out of their natural habitat in an attempt to breed and sell them, it's rarely successful.

With habitat loss in the Cameron Highlands increasing, people have begun to worry about the status of the species, but sadly, they are so rare that very little data is available to gauge their vulnerability.

h/t: CILISOS

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