Blunt Creeper Snail
[Mud Creeper, Matah Merah, Belitong, Chut-chut, Hoy jup jeng (Thai),
Longburm (Aust.) Cerithidea obtusa, family Potamididae]
Found in the brackish waters of mangrove swamps in Southeast Asia
and Australia, these snails are gathered from the trunks and branches of the
mangroves and sold live in local markets. The photo specimens were from
Vietnam and labeled "Top Shell", which they are not. The largest would have
been about 1-3/4 inches long if the tip hadn't been broken off. The tips are
generally slightly broken in nature but these have been broken farther down to
facilitate eating them.
These snails are commonly added to curry soups. The photo specimens were
from Vietnam and came packed frozen in a curry made of coconut milk and
mint. They must, of course, be picked out of the soup and eaten
While the tip of the shell is generally broken off in nature it is
broken a bit farther down to facilitate eating. These snails retreat far
into their shell and cannot be removed with tools. By an implosive sucking
technique you suck the snail out through the big end of its shell directly
into your mouth. This is best because you don't really want to see what
you're eating here.
The operculum, the hard door the snail pulls in to block off the entrance
to its shell, is probably still with the snail and you'll have to deal with
it. It's very thin and sometimes sticks to the roof of your mouth.
I didn't measure the yield from these snails because it's minute and pretty
much irrelevant anyway. You aren't going to be eating these as a significant
source of nutrition unless you live in a mangrove swamp.