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In “The Snail” TikTok Trend, Creators Are Questioning Their Fate

I’m just going to come out and say it: I think everyone is having an existential crisis right now. Between the tragic Facebook rebrand and the start of “sad girl fall,” you’re not alone if you’re questioning everything these days. During this dark time, TikTokers have been consulting an elderly pug for guidance (obviously) and now, it looks like we’ve got a new animal on the block. Say hello to “The Snail” TikTok trend, where creators are watching their backs for a dangerous immortal snail that will ultimately determine their fate. The trend is eccentric, existential, and the perfect example of dark humor — AKA the ideal recipe for any viral TikTok moment.

I know what you’re probably thinking. An immortal snail? What’s up with the internet? When I discovered this trend, I thought the same thing. “The Snail” TikTok trend was originally born in 2014 on a podcast called “Rooster Teeth,” and in one episode, this hypothetical question was posed: “Would you take $10 million, but for the rest of your life, there’s a snail trying to get to you…and you can’t ever be touched by the snail, or else you’ll die?” Truthfully, I have no idea why a snail is out to get me, nor how we both managed to become immortal. But if $10 million is on the line, let’s go. 

Following its debut, the snail scenario quickly gained popularity on Reddit and Twitter, with people all over the world weighing in on what they’d do. For some, the question was a no-brainer — they’d take the money, fully confident in their ability to outrun a tiny snail for the rest of eternity. Others formed an elaborate plan to ensure their survival, like strategically trapping the snail in a Tungsten sphere and dumping it into Mariana’s Trench. Others thought about what’ll happen when climate change melts the planet (sad, I know) and whether or not the snail will survive. One creator even launched a full-fledged mathematical investigation about whether or not anyone would have a shot at survival. 

Now, TikTokers are responding to the hypothetical “snail” question in hilarious ways. Creator @bryceluttrell02 predicts that someday, he’ll be a billionaire who travels to outer space only to realize that the snail is up there, too. TikToker @_bysim predicts she’ll get snatched the minute she lets her guard down and @morgandrinkscoffee plans on adding a bit of salt to her daily latte for protection (you never know). In an alternate reality, Harper is enjoying a beautiful spring day when she spots — gasp — a snail line, and realizes it’s all over. I especially enjoy this version depicting the moment you and the snail catch up to each other, and this one from @sam_laugh, who says: “POV: The year is 4023, you’re one of the last alive, and The Snail is still hunting you; but Noodle has bones that day.” Ah, I love when TikTok trends come together.

To try the trend at home, film a scenario involving this dangerous, immortal snail, whether you’re narrowly escaping its wrath or it ultimately gets the best of you just as you’re signing a lease for your “salt house.” Maybe it sneaks up on you while you’re doing your makeup, or when you’re enjoying your nighttime tea. Whatever the scenario, flex those comedy muscles and capture the moment. Will you survive, or not? Where will you be? TikTok wants to know. And as if the trend couldn’t get weirder, creators are using this classic Christmas song in the background of their videos. As @em.alexi says, we’ll never hear the nostalgic tune the same way again.

Given Gen Z’s obsession with “Squid Game” and our collective trust in a 13-year-old pug to get us through daily life, I’m curious what the emergence of an immortal snail says about our psyche. And based on TikTok, it appears we’re all searching for answers, wondering what our future holds, and contemplating our mortality. While I’d like to remain optimistic, I have to wonder: Is this the end? Honestly. Gen Z…are you okay? Asking for a friend.

Tianna is an Associate Editor at Her Campus Media HQ where she covers all things pop culture, entertainment, wellness, and TikTok trends. She graduated from North Carolina State University and received her masters from Columbia University. Tianna currently lives in New York City where you can find her sipping coffee, practicing yoga, and singing show tunes.
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