For a long time, it felt like Jeremy would never find love. It wasn’t his fault, he was just…different.
You see Jeremy is a garden snail with a rare and unique trait, he’s a lefty. Meaning that his shell swirls counterclockwise to the left, and not the right. It’s a trait that’s so rare we’re only just realizing it existed outside of an incredible anomaly. Through Jeremy, researchers now think it could occur in 1 of every 100,000 snails.
But it comes with a catch. Lefty snails also have their sexual organs on the left side of their head, and since they mate facing each other, Jeremy would’t line up with the vast, vast majority of normal, right-sided snails. Snails are also hermaphrodites, so they get each other pregnant. Although they do have the ability to get themselves pregnant, they rarely if ever choose to do so. Which makes Jeremy even lonelier than we thought.
But evolutionary geneticist Angus Davison of the University of Nottingham, is interested in finding out what causes the mutation, and whether it can be passed genetically to offspring. Needless to say, he was determined to find Jeremy love. Or at least a mate.
They put out a call asking the public “for its help in finding the lonely mollusc a mate,” and spread the word using the hashtag #snaillove. As Popular Science charmingly says, “even snails use online dating.”
Almost immediately, Jeremy became an internet “shellebrity” and had people all over the world, trying to hook him up.
And it worked! Soon enough the world had found not just one, but two potential mates for our boy/girl J.
Here’s a photo of Jeremy flirting (literally) with his first potential partner, Lefty.
Let’s meet Jeremy’s two potential dates:
His/her name is Lefty, he’s a couple inches tall, and is a pet to a snail enthusiast near Ipswich, U.K. Apparently she contacted as soon as she heard the appeal .
This snail is from Mojorca, Spain, and comes from a very different background than Lefty. Instead of being a pet, he was actually found a restaurant that specializes in serving snails. The guy who runs the restaurant heard about the appeal and then, Davison says, “amazingly a couple of days later, he came across one that coils the other way, in preparing snails prior to them being cooked.”
Jeremy has already met Lefty, and although they haven’t “gone all the way” yet, they are getting to know each other and seem to be getting along swimmingly. If they don’t work out, then he’ll test his luck with the spanish snail (who sounds lovely.)
I would imagine Jeremy isn’t the most confidant snail around, being that he’s always been a little different.
But we’re rooting for him.