Prepare to be grossed out but oddly fascinated. It is high time you learn everything you need to know about snail sex. Let that settle in for a moment so we can get on with it since gastropod mating isn’t a topic one broaches then backs away from. We’re doing this, guys. We’re going in. Besides, this wouldn’t even be up for discussion if there weren’t hordes of inquisitive humans who are inexplicably concerned with what snails think about when they’re having sex.
Feel free to blame it on the snail sex snoops, PBS’ Deep Look series or just plug your ears and pretend like this isn’t happening. Do whatever you have to in order to cope. Either way, we are definitely about to go there, AND we have accompanying educational footage because to see slimy hookups in progress is to truly understand them.
As the narrator excitedly informs us, snails are hermaphrodites that like to take things slow. Because they’re deaf and basically blind, they rely on the smell and taste of slime to locate a suitable partner (ew, but these are snails so what did you expect?).
Anyway, snail foreplay is pretty standard. It involves a lot of touching and rubbing all over one another, but then, things get a little ~real~ when they stab each other with spears that are known as “love darts.” They’re normally hidden inside the body and contain hormones to help the snails get even more hot and bothered.
AND THAT’S WHEN THE SNAIL PENISES APPEAR, Y’ALL.
In addition to really getting the snails going, love darts also serve as protection for the sperm, which are mostly killed by the snails’ bodies since neither of them wants to become the mother.
So, that confirms it, people: Animal sex is very, very interesting, but still just mostly gross.