Snail Wakes Up

In 1846, authorities at the British Museum glued what they thought was a deceased snail to a piece of cardboard for display. After it seemingly became unglued 5 years later, they discovered it had been alive the whole time.

Collected by Charles Lamb, Esq., from the Egyptian desert in March of 1846. He sent his specimen of Helix desertorum to the museum shortly after.

Pronounced Dead

Believing the snail to have expired in transit, they glued him to a cardboard show card.

Little did they know that the snail had retreated deep into the spiral of its shell in a deep sleep.

For five years, nobody knew the secrets hidden in the whorls of calcium carbonate at the British Museum.

The Lazarus Snail

One day curators noticed something strange about their catatonic mollusk: the shell seemed to have moved from its glued position and a trail of discoloration followed it.

Archivists removed it from the card to give it a bath, with a suspicion the snail might have in fact been slumbering.

After just a few minutes of exposure to moisture, the snail’s head poked from its shell and surveyed its new home with four eye stalks.

Scientists reckon the last time the snail had been awake was in the Egyptian desert.

The snail was fed some cabbage before falling back asleep for another two years.

snail wakes up woodcut

A woodcut of the revived snail.