In this piece, Kate Evans explains just how unique and magical nautiluses are. Be prepared to find yourself fascinated by an animal that has often been labeled a “dumb snail.”

Number 3 was the teacher’s pet. Number 13 was always trying to break out of her car seat. Number 9 lived the longest in captivity, 10 years, and he was Basil’s favorite: “Oh, he was a prince.” He would curl his tentacles around her finger when she reached into the water, and when he got old, Basil gave him a “retirement tank” and his favorite food—lobster carapaces she scrounged from fancy New York restaurants.