Cone Snail Sting
Cone Snail Sting Overview
A cone snail has a cone-shaped shell, a head, and tentacles. There are approximately 500 species of cone snails. They live in the Indian and Pacific oceans, the Caribbean and Red seas, and along the coast of Florida. They are not aggressive.
The sting usually occurs when divers in deep reef waters handle the snails. Swimmers and snorkelers are unlikely to find cone snails in shallow intertidal waters. Their empty shells are prized items on sandy beaches. They are nocturnal (more active at night) and they tend to burrow themselves in the sand and coral during the day. Cone snail shells range in size from less than an inch to 9 inches long. Cone snails mainly hunt worms and other snails. A few varieties of cone snails eat fish, and these are the most harmful to humans.
In order to get its prey, the cone snail injects a rapid acting venom from a dart-like tooth (radicula) or dagger. In order to do this, the head of the snail extends out of the shell. The toxin from cone snails in the Indo-Pacific region tends to be more harmful than other regions of the world.
Cone Snail Sting Symptoms
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/22/2014
Scott D. Fell, DO, FAAEM
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