Snails are pretty amazing, from their wiggly eye stalks to the way they carry their houses around on their backs. Unfortunately, they're also pretty small, and as a result, they often get stepped on. Their camouflage helps them evade predators in nature, but in areas where humans are the majority of the animals, a little visibility might actually help.
In several places, some people decided to extend some safety to their snail friends by giving them some bright decoration. Not only does it make the snails more visible (and less likely to be stepped on), but it also adds a bit of fun to the general surroundings.
No one is sure where the trend started, but it's believed that this image, found on Imgur, is the earliest known example of snail painting.
Soon, the Internet exploded with photos of snails with paint jobs. Some were simple, and some were quite elaborate. Whole blogs sprung up around snail-painting projects. Aside from making snails more visible to humans, some artists also claimed that the bright colors would make predatory animals think snails were toxic and avoid them. Bright colors usually indicate toxicity in nature. Conversely, some complained that the paint could harm the snails by damaging their shells. There is controversy about the ethics of painting another creature, but it hasn't stopped people from decorating snails around the world.
If you're inspired to try this, there are a few things you need to take into consideration: First, always use non-toxic paint, because it touches the snail and will eventually wear off into the environment. Second, avoid painting near the top of the shell (near the snail's head). The reason for this is that snails (and slugs) have a breathing pore at that location called a pneumostome, and getting paint in/on it can block it. As always, be careful if you're going to handle snails. You might consider offering them some water and lettuce for lunch.
Read more: http://viralnova.com/designer-snails/