Got a little chill of this bizarre phenomenon occurring within the snail community. A malevolent
creature is controlling their brain making them a sacrificial offer to predators.
The image you see is a snail possessed by a parasite (Leucochloridium paradoxum) that causes it to become like a zombie. This snail can still move but it has no longer control of its body. The parasite does. The strange bulge in the snail’s head is actually its tentacles enlarged because of the parasite inside.
The parasite is like a captain of a ship commanding the snail to climb up to the top of a plant, thereby exposing the snail to potential predators such as birds. It is looking for a new larger host to lay eggs and the cycle repeats when a snail munches on the birds droppings.
Hoax or Fact:
The message talks about a bizarre phenomenon of Zombie Snails possessed by a parasite called Leucochloridium paradoxum, to control their brains. Yes, it is a fact.
This very interesting phenomenon of Zombie Snail mind control is well documented. Leucochloridium paradoxum, commonly called green-banded broodsac is a parasitic flatworm that uses gastropods (snails and slugs) as an intermediate host.
When the parasitic worm eggs are unknowingly ingested by a Snail, they hatch in the snail's digestive track, and later, the larva changes into sporocysts, leading to drastic mutations in the snail’s brain and physiology. This is to say that the parasite controls the snail's mind and thereby its body. As shown in the picture and first video of Nat Geo Wild, infected snail develops swollen, pulsating tentacles.
Healthy snails generally seek darkness to hide from their predators, but the Snail infected with this parasite loses control to it and moves itself into dangerous open space and light. This is done to attract bigger species like birds, which mistake the exposed tentacles of Snail for a caterpillar or grub, and feed on its defenseless head. The flatworm then grows inside the bird, laying eggs, which are again released in droppings for new snails to consume. This way the life cycle of the parasitic worm continues.
It is interesting to know that there are many parasites like this which infect many other species as well. The second video shows a study conducted on such parasites infecting Fish, making them like zombies again. And then there is documented evidence of yet another parasitic fungus called Cordyceps, which mainly attack insects and other arthropods. This even raised questions that Humans can be Zombified with these Parasites.