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Textile Cone | © Richard Ling/WikiCommons
Textile Cone | © Richard Ling/WikiCommons
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The Cloth Of Gold: 7 Facts About The Textile Cone

Picture of Ellie Griffiths
Updated: 9 February 2017
One of the world’s most dangerous sea creatures is the Textile Cone (scientific name: Conus Textile). This cone snail, also known as a cloth of gold, lives within a glossy shell and can inject microscopic needles into its prey, injecting venom that is highly toxic to humans.

There are over 600 species of cone snails

Surprisingly, there are over 600 species of cone snails throughout the world, each ranging from just over one centimetre in length up to 23 centimetres. Although the Textile Cone is not the largest, it is the most venomous in the world.

They can be identified by their shingle-like pattern

Found in the Indian Ocean, spreading from Australia to Africa and even Hawaii, they can be identified by their irregular pattern that resembles shingles. Growing up to 10 centimetres in size, the shell usually ranges from light to dark brown, with a slight yellow overlapping the markings.

They inject microscopic needles into their prey

Hunting primarily at night, the Textile Cone are able to sneak up on their prey before injecting it with their microscopic needles that are full of conotoxin. The strength of the venom that is injected through its harpoon-like tooth (where the needles are kept) largely depends on the type and the size of the prey.

Textile Cone | © Harry Rose / Flickr
Textile Cone | © Harry Rose / Flickr

They are highly dangerous to humans

Sadly, this tiny snail is highly dangerous to humans and should not be handled without high precaution, as their harpoon-like tooth has the ability to break through rubber gloves, skin and wetsuits. Their venom produces symptoms – varying from shortness of breath and headaches to respiratory paralysis and a decreased level of consciousness – that can take several days to appear.

Their venom is powerful enough to kill 60 adults

Although they are only responsible for a handful of deaths across the world, their venom is powerful enough to kill 60 adult humans. Those bites have usually occurred because the people did not protect their exposed skin, or they unknowingly stepped on it in the ocean.

They are carnivorous creatures

One of the most venomous creatures in the world, and the most venomous type of sea snail, the Textile Cone uses its venom for hunting and in self-defense. Although there are a variety of cone snails that are fish eaters, worm eaters and mollusc eaters, the Textile Cone is carnivorous, varying in diet.

Their shells are prized possessions

Lying on the beach, the shells of the Textile Cone are highly prized due to their glossy shells and unique patterns. However, next time you see one and pick it up, ensure the snail is gone before taking it home with you.

Textile Cone | © Harry Rose / Flickr
Textile Cone | © Harry Rose / Flickr