Do Slugs Carry Disease?

Seeing a slimy slug in your garden is not a great sight. Slugs are persistent and they cause severe damage to plants.

But is the news even worse? Could they actually be dangerous to your health. Do slugs carry disease or not?

Unfortunately slugs do carry disease because they are carriers of the lungworm parasite. 

One of the most common diseases found in slugs is the lungworm parasite. Although the parasite comes from rates, slugs can also be infected and become carriers.

However, it’s worth noting that not all slugs will have this parasite, only the ones exposed to it. But, if you touch an infected slug, the parasite can be passed to you.

In addition, any animals or pets which consume the infected slug will also be affected by the parasite.

If you are dealing with slugs in your garden, it is important to wear gloves, take precautions, and look out for your pets and children.

Is Touching a Slug Dangerous?

If you are consistently working in your garden, it is natural to wonder if touching a slug is dangerous. Well, the good news is if you encounter a garden slug, you should not worry too much.

Of course, it is a given that you must maintain common hygiene like washing your hands after dealing with slugs. 

Some slugs, as aforementioned, can contain the parasite lungworm, which is dangerous. These slugs act like infecting agents, which is why you must wear gloves and wash your hands immediately.

While some slugs are carriers of the parasite, others can be poisonous, but usually, garden snails are not. 

Is Touching a Slug Dangerous

Is it Safe to Eat Slugs? 

Having skin contact with a slug should be no reason for you to worry. On the other hand, ingesting a slug with rat lungworm diseases can cause serious problems.

If you suspect that you have this disease, it is important to look out for symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fever and headache. 

People consuming infected slugs are at risk of contracting lungworm diseases the most. For example, children are curious and sometimes eat slugs while playing and put them in their mouths. . 

You might be thinking: “Who is eating slugs anyways!?”

Well, slugs love to munch on vegetables and fruits and can often hide themselves in the leaves of cabbage and brassicas. It is, therefore, important to wash them thoroughly before using them.

You can tell which fruits and vegetables may have traces of slug on them by the amount of damage they have. Any fruit or vegetable that has fallen prey to slugs will have holes that indicate slug bites. In addition, if you are gardening, you must wash your hands to ensure there are no slug traces left. 

Slug on Cabbage

Is It Safe to Pick up a Slug?

You will inevitably encounter slugs while out in your garden. Sometimes a slug can get on you, and you will have to pick it up and touch it. While slugs carry certain diseases and parasites, they will not cause any harm.

Iit is safe to pick up the slug, remove it and throw it away. It is best to remain calm during this situation and not become unnecessarily stressed or uncomfortable. 

If a slug gets on you, you will have to wash the slime off. Slugs can transfer diseases. Therefore, you have to clean any areas it touches and look out for symptoms.

Most diseases, however, transfer when someone ingests a slug. Therefore, picking a slug up or it is getting on you should not be much of a worry. 

When you encounter a slug, you will feel the slime, which is not a great feeling. Hence, your first instinct will be to immediately wash your skin with water. However, in this case, it is not something you should do. If any slug slime gets on you, it is important to wait to dry and then wash it off. 

Sometimes, it can become difficult to remove the dried slime. You can make this process easier by using a towel and scraping it off.


As a gardener, you will often encounter slugs. Apart from causing damage to plants, you may wonder if they can cause any harm to you. One of the most common parasites which are found in slugs is the lungworm parasite.

However, not all slugs are carriers of this disease, but you can catch it if exposed to it. You may have touched a slug if you are working in the garden. It is important to wash your hands and follow the basic hygiene rules, and you will have nothing to worry about. 

Ingesting a slug who has been affected by the disease can pose some problems for you. Look out for children in the garden as they may end up eating slugs while playing.

It is safe to pick up slugs, but you must wash your hands after. If slug slime gets on you, you can wait for it to dry and then clean it with soap and water. 

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