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Slugs: not as delicious as they seem!
December 10, 2011 8:27 PM   Subscribe

NYTimes warns: Do not eat slugs! A 21-year old Australian man is seriously ill after ingesting two garden slugs on a dare. The causative organism is Angiostrongylus cantonensis which leads to eosinophilic meningitis.

More commonly known as rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis is widespread in Southeast Asia and Africa. A growing problem is the spread of this parasite by the giant African land snail. Rat lungworm is known to cause disease in humans, but previously was confined mostly to those who had consumed a Thai dish called koi-hoi containing raw snail meat. Lovers of raw snails need not despair however, a study shows that ingesting alcohol along with your snails lowers the number of viable parasites.
posted by genmonster (65 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
The 21-year-old Sydney man apparently contracted a rat lungworm parasite...

That is a truly terrifying combination of words.

So yet another reason to not ingest raw snails and slugs. Got it.
posted by Huck500 at 8:37 PM on December 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Got it, no castrating sheep, no slugs. That really opens up my weekend.
posted by neuromodulator at 8:43 PM on December 10, 2011 [38 favorites]


Before I read the inside information I was going to say "how many beers did he have before doing that?"
posted by swooz at 8:43 PM on December 10, 2011


And then I remembered -- Beer and Slugs Go Great Together!!!!"
posted by swooz at 8:45 PM on December 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Needs salt.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:51 PM on December 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Seriously, should you be eating any wildlife in Australia? Seems like everything's either toxic or endangered. Or both.

That said, are they just fine cleaned and sauteed with a little butter and garlic and white wine?
posted by zomg at 8:54 PM on December 10, 2011


Remember, he was in Australia, where all the native wildlife is out to get you. I imagine typical North American slugs would be perfectly safe to eat raw.
posted by TedW at 8:57 PM on December 10, 2011


or what zomg said
posted by TedW at 8:57 PM on December 10, 2011


I love the fact that the New York Times precedes the slug-related headline with the all-caps phrase "GLOBAL UPDATE."
posted by compartment at 8:57 PM on December 10, 2011


I learned not to eat slugs after seeing the movie (warning: exploding eyeballs).
posted by plastic_animals at 8:59 PM on December 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


rat lungworm parasite

Aaaand click away.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:02 PM on December 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don't do what the Beave did, don't eat worms. Might not have been a worm per se, some say it had pincers, and perforated his intestine. Take away point: pinch the head real good before swallowing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:05 PM on December 10, 2011


I learned not to eat slugs after seeing the movie (warning: exploding eyeballs).

Funny, when I heard "slugs causing brain infection", I thought of this movie, Night of the Creeps (warning: contains 80s).

That period seem like a critical period for slug-based horror movies. Maybe it's time for a revisiting of that sub-genre?
posted by formless at 9:11 PM on December 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the first place, all these asshole worms need to have some respect and stay the hell out of other animals. The whole nematode phylum are pretty much a bunch of lazy cocksuckers.. otherwise we wouldn't have problems like this.
posted by crapmatic at 9:12 PM on December 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


In Australia?... there aren't enough ways to die in Australia?
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:13 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Squirm is probably in my top 5 favorite MST3K and best garden crawler movie I've yet to see in the horror genre.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:19 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't like everything poisonous in Australia? Aren't Australian familiar with this fact?
posted by jeffburdges at 9:24 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


zomg: "6Seriously, should you be eating any wildlife in Australia? Seems like everything's either toxic or endangered. Or both. "

Seriously.
posted by zarq at 9:27 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Squirm terrified the life out of me when I was little.

Also it would never occurred to me to eat slugs- I assumed before reading the article he thought it would get him high, but apparently it was the gift behind door number two: stupid dares.
posted by winna at 9:29 PM on December 10, 2011


gawd Australians are culturally backward. They can't even eat slugs properly.
posted by the noob at 9:33 PM on December 10, 2011


Oh man, Night of the Creeps! Tom Atkins!

The good news is your dates are here.

What's the bad news?

They're dead.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:34 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gosh, and I had planned to serve raw slugs at my party tomorrow.
posted by jeather at 9:37 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I only ate snails once in Dubrovnik and they were cooked and served with a nice white wine. I liked the wine a Hell of a lot more than I liked the snails. Slugs are something I would not eat. I can't see why anyone would eat slugs or snails outside of a desperate survival situation.
Not all animals in Australia are poisonous,, there are the feral camels. Camels are supposed to be good food. There's feral water buffalo, much more dangerous but I hear the meat is good.
raw slugs... *shudders in revulsion*...
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:43 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


As already expressed ^ rat lungworm parasite = nightmare fodder
posted by vicx at 9:51 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Glad to see my country is in the international news again for all the right reasons.
posted by Joe Chip at 9:58 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have just read the following sentence:
The 21-year-old Sydney man apparently contracted a rat lungworm parasite from the slugs, which pick it up from rodent droppings.
and it was not horror or science fiction. It was not, in fact, fictional in any way.

I'm having trouble imagining how you'd pack any more subtle ick into one phrase.
posted by Malor at 10:00 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


NYTimes warns: Do not eat slugs!

I think if you need the New York Times to clear that up for you, then you have bigger problems.

Although, considering the result, eating slugs is BIG FUCKING PROBLEM, so maybe not.
posted by tzikeh at 10:13 PM on December 10, 2011


About 40 years ago, one of my college professors made a slug milkshake and drank it. I'm not sure why. He said it tasted horrible. These were Pacific Northwest slugs, not the Australian ones. I wish I could unsee this post.
posted by warbaby at 10:16 PM on December 10, 2011


And I can't even swallow the worm at the bottom of the tequila bottle. I apologise for letting the side down, Orstraya.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 10:30 PM on December 10, 2011


So log as he didn't move on to newt coffee, warbaby.
posted by hattifattener at 10:33 PM on December 10, 2011


"My favorite was a talk about the rough-skinned newt, the most ridiculously poisonous animal in America."
Isn't he running for some office?
posted by Cranberry at 10:39 PM on December 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whoever dared this knobhead to eat slugs better have paid the fuck up and the next thing they should both do is piss off to England.
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:46 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


About 40 years ago, one of my college professors made a slug milkshake and drank it. I'm not sure why. He said it tasted horrible. These were Pacific Northwest slugs, not the Australian ones. I wish I could unsee this post.

YUUUUUUUCK WHYYYYYYYYYY

Holy shit. I wish I could unsee that. The thought of this is somehow worse than the NYT article. Slug smoothie! barf
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:48 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe the fact that it was one of the few non-hide-y/kill-y animals made him try to eat it. Maybe he thought FINALLY THIS WON'T HIDE THEN JUMP ON ME AND KILL ME YAY so he swallows it and well whadyaknow...

Australia doesn't have a food chain so much as a food dodecahedron.
posted by Salmonberry at 11:30 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Australia has a surprising number of very specialised feeders. Everything has evolved defences - chemical, behavioural, or physical - to avoid the majority of potential predators. The result is a fragile ecosystem where each thing relies on the one species below it that it can eat without dying.

Salmonberry: "Australia doesn't have a food chain so much as a food dodecahedron."

It's more of a food menorah. Unfortunately people are towards the bottom, at about the point that the arms join onto the stand. Our propensity to say "no worries!" or "she'll be right!" is simply a linguistic signal to let other members of our species know we're about to attempt eating something above us on the food menorah, and our ability to swear a lot is a behavioural adaptation to warn fellow members of our species that the thing we've just ingested is killing us.

You've only got to watch someone eat a hot dog from midnight street cart, or a late-night pie from a servo or 7-11 hotbox, to see this in action…
posted by Pinback at 12:02 AM on December 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Seriously, should you be eating any wildlife in Australia? Seems like everything's either toxic or endangered. Or both.

Kangaroos are delicious. And there are plenty of them. Emus too.

One would think that not eating slugs should be a worldwide directive.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:06 AM on December 11, 2011


Slug Smoothies are best with a bit of oatmeal tossed in before blending.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:07 AM on December 11, 2011


They'll grab you by your chin
Butter you with germs
Throw you out the window
Mash you up with worms

posted by Smart Dalek at 12:13 AM on December 11, 2011


Did he not know how to dig for witchetty grubs? *shakes head sadly*
posted by Trivia Newton John at 12:36 AM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that I either read or heard somewhere that slugs are just one of those groups of animals that you should never eat, like millipedes. I think they were described as being either poisonous or toxic, but it might have been the parasites; I don't remember.

In any case it's worth remembering that invertebrates are similar to wild plants and fungi in the sense that if you don't know which ones you can eat, you probably shouldn't experiment. There are a lot of poisonous insects (from the edibility perspective) although I don't think there are many deadly poisonous ones.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:21 AM on December 11, 2011


Cooked snails in garlic are lovely. But even the French don't eat slugs, that should be warning enough.
posted by quarsan at 1:34 AM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


As an australian with a sluggy garden, i will be washing my lettuce a lot better in the future.
posted by small house at 2:35 AM on December 11, 2011


Ingesting alcohol along with snails can be fine, but they tend to get pissy if you suggest tequila shots or margaritas.
posted by orme at 3:01 AM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm personally blaming the NY Times for preventing me from ever getting my JetPack. If we keep interfering with natural selection, we'll never have the neat stuff. Before long we'll be in the middle of some effort to actually breed the species for stupidity. cough...politicians....cough
posted by tomswift at 3:21 AM on December 11, 2011


The French eat cooked snails, yes, and I think what gets lost in the cross-cultural "ewww" is the fact that the snails must be cleaned before cooking. I don't just mean rinsed, but thoroughly purged over several days. They're fed a single food, usually lettuce, for a full three to seven days (seven is really best). They're also rinsed regularly to remove slime, which contains toxins until the purge is finished.

I'm almost curious whether slugs would be safe if purged like that, but well, I won't be the one to try :) Snails cooked in a buttery garlic and parsley sauce though? Served with a dry white Mâcon? Yes please.
posted by fraula at 4:01 AM on December 11, 2011


Wait, what's wrong with millipedes?

There goes breakfast...
posted by zarq at 4:28 AM on December 11, 2011


Never have I more agreed with the bard as when he said, "nonononononono!"
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:00 AM on December 11, 2011


The 21-year-old Sydney man apparently contracted a rat lungworm parasite from the slugs, which pick it up from rodent droppings.

and it was not horror or science fiction. It was not, in fact, fictional in any way.

I'm having trouble imagining how you'd pack any more subtle ick into one phrase


The 21-year-old Sydney man discovered he had contracted a rat lungworm parasite when the worms began exiting his body through his eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. The man ingested the parasite while consuming a rat droppings and slugs smoothy on a whim. Rat lungworm parasites cause irreversible brain damage and often the infected victim will gnaw off their own tail and paws before dying.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:17 AM on December 11, 2011


Has Madagascar closed her ports yet?
posted by Renoroc at 6:28 AM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The whole nematode phylum are pretty much a bunch of lazy cocksuckers.

There's a nematode that lives exclusively in German beer mats.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:12 AM on December 11, 2011


Come to Australia
You might accidentally get killed
Your blood is bound to be spilled
With fear your pants will be filled Angiostrongylus cantonensis your meninges will be filled
Because you might accidentally get killed
posted by tommasz at 7:35 AM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a special time of year in these parts when the slugs grow big and crawl all over my front walk in the morning. Peaceful, dark, damp mornings... until, as I inevitably do at least once a year, step on one during my groggy barefoot dance to get the newspaper. I will always associate the newspaper with the glorious sensation of slug guts squeezing upward between my toes.

So no, not really planning to eat them. Hell, even my cat doesn't eat them, and he eats anything that crawls.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 8:06 AM on December 11, 2011


"A 21-year old Australian man is seriously ill after ingesting two garden slugs on a dare."

"Lovers of raw snails need not despair however, a study shows that ingesting alcohol along with your snails lowers the number of viable parasites."


The study's conclusion must be bogus as the 21-year old Australian simply could not have gone through with the dare without first having ingested a significant amount of alcohol.
posted by bz at 10:02 AM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


We had a cookout/keg party earlier this fall and had a fire. While I was collecting wood I noticed a slug on one of the sticks I was throwing in the fire. It was a baby, hardly as long as my fingernail. Someone bet me $20 to eat it, so I promptly thrust it into the fire to roast it, swallowed it down, and claimed my twenty. Of course everyone was disgusted, but I didn't think it was that bad. I've had escargot, and I know people eat worse in the wild, so I figured what the hell. Of course now my wife's all over my ass because of this. I told her to chill because I cooked mine first.
posted by daHIFI at 10:56 AM on December 11, 2011


...after ingesting two garden slugs on a dare.

That would be a double dare.
posted by Brian B. at 11:24 AM on December 11, 2011


As I suspected, this obscure disorder was featured in a House episode (Season 8.2). However, it's one that I've not yet seen, and thus have not read the content of my link.
posted by obscurator at 1:16 PM on December 11, 2011


He must have already used his AskMefi question for the week.
posted by unliteral at 3:31 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


"...however, a study shows that ingesting alcohol along with your snails lowers the number of viable parasites."

genmonster, if only more FPPers were as thoughtful as you. Some would have passed over this bit, and what with my tendency to skim important medical articles, well... all I can say is,

THANK GOD FOR YOU. AND ALCOHOL.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:37 PM on December 11, 2011


Seriously, what in Australia cannot kill you?
posted by chemoboy at 8:39 PM on December 11, 2011


By the way, these parasites are listed in Poisonous Plants, Animals, and Sheep of Australia. Volume 4, IIRC.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:43 PM on December 11, 2011


Rabbits. Cane toads are toxic.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:47 PM on December 11, 2011


OKAY I HAVE 1337 FAVORITES EVERYONE STOP NOW
posted by neuromodulator at 8:50 PM on December 11, 2011


FUCKIN LEGEND MATE
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:21 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ever notice Joe Rogan never does any of those stunts? Jerk.
posted by stormpooper at 6:55 AM on December 12, 2011


Counterpoint: while slugs should not be eaten, licking slugs is harmless, and makes the licker's tongue go numb for a few seconds. So there's that. (source: summer camp)
posted by Green Winnebago at 1:11 PM on December 12, 2011


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