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READY, STEADY, SLOW

Snails face off in world’s slowest, slimiest race

By Jamie Leventhal

One hundred thirty five snails competed in the 2017 World Snail Racing Championships in Congham, England on July 15. The snails were placed in a circle and timed to see how quickly they could slither past the finish line 13 inches away. Snails of all sizes, sporting vibrant shell decals, were brought out to the competition, including a snail named Uslime Bolt.

Snails move so slowly because they get about by using tiny muscular contractions called pedal waves, according to National Geographic. Instead of speeding away from larger predators, snails rely on their shells for protection. However, snails will put the pedal to the metal (relatively speaking) if they are being pursued by predatory snails.

The 2017 snail racing champion was anything but sluggish. Larry the snail completed the course in two minutes and 47 seconds, falling just short of beating the world record of two minutes, held by Archie the snail.

Tara Beasley, Larry’s pleasantly surprised owner, originally entered the competition as a joke. She plans on treating the victorious snail to some grapes.