Here’s a fun pastime, if you’re mildly sociopathic: Put a clam on a table. Sprinkle salt around it. Watch as it investigates with what looks for all the world like a gigantic creepy beige tongue.
Yes, we know it’s not a tongue, but you know it looks like it’s sticking out its tongue and very slowly licking its lips.
Alex Hern at the New Statesman captures the pathos of it all:
What you are seeing the clam in the video extend is actually its foot, which is normally used to bury the bottom-dwellers beneath the ocean floor.
Obviously, this clam isn’t going to dig itself particularly deep into the hardwood table which it has been placed on. As an inhabitant of the intertidal zone, it is used to being in the dry, and it thinks that what must be sand beneath is the safest place to be until it gets wet again. But when it extends its foot to dig, it hits salt … not something it likes to do. So it retracts its foot, and sits, waiting for the tide to come in, and hoping it isn’t picked off by a seagull.
Gonna go out on a limb here and say that seagulls are likely not the predator this clam should worry about. The video doesn’t indicate the clam’s fate, but come on. It’s in a kitchen. It’s a tasty delicacy. It just salted itself. We doubt it made it far.
- Clam Stealing Salt from a Table , Kottke
Get Grist in your inbox