Do Slugs Taste Like Snails?

Do Slugs Taste Like Snails

Do Slugs Taste Like Snails?

At this point, we can confidently assert that human curiosity remains unquenchable. Despite the abundance of known edible options, people continue to show interest in uncovering the next culinary delight. This curiosity has sparked a growing fascination with determining whether slugs taste like snails.

Slugs do not taste like snails. While both creatures might seem alike, they’re gastronomically distinct. Slugs have a chewy, slightly bitter profile due to their mucus. In contrast, snails offer a meatier, richer texture. The preparation method plays a vital role in shaping their respective flavors.

Now that we know both slugs and snails are edible, this article aims to determine which of these two delicacies has a superior taste and why people may prefer one over the other.

Do Slugs and Snails Have the Same Taste?

The good news for those curious inquirers is that snails and slugs are edible and relatively easy to catch. However, a word of caution is necessary. Slugs and snails carry dangerous parasites, so proper cooking is crucial to avoid infectious diseases associated with these parasites.

Despite slugs and snails belonging to the gastropod family, their tastes differ when cooked.

Slugs have an excessive mucus coating that affects their flavor even after cooking. Expert chefs claim this coating can be removed, but the unmistakable rubbery taste remains.

On the other hand, snails acquire a sweet taste and absorb the flavors of the sauce they are cooked in, making them delicious.

Why You Should Never Eat Raw Slugs-At All 

Numerous stories of young individuals daring each other to swallow slugs circulate. Still, the tale of Sam Ballard, a 19-year-old, stands out.

Related Reading: Can Snails Cause Warts?

At a party, Ballard’s friends dared him to ingest a raw slug, and he accepted the challenge. After a few days, Ballard fell ill and was diagnosed with a rare form of meningitis by doctors.

Ballard slipped into a coma during treatment and remained unresponsive for over a year. Fortunately, he survived the meningitis ordeal, but his life turned dark. Paralyzed from the neck down, he lost the ability to use his limbs.

Medical professionals in the hospital diligently investigated how Ballard contracted the infection, and the findings were shocking. The culprit behind the deadly meningitis was the rat lungworm, a parasite commonly spread by slugs.

Just like the rare disease that forever altered Ballard’s life, the rat lungworm is considered uncommon. Although originally endemic to Asia, recent reports indicate its presence in parts of the following regions:

  • Australia
  • Southern America
  • Africa

Hawaii has also reported cases of rat lungworm infections, with up to ten instances annually. This parasite only enters the human body through the consumption of raw slugs.

The rat lungworm’s reproductive cycle elucidates why it poses such a danger once inside a human. Naturally, rat lungworms complete their life cycle within rats. Upon entry, the worms migrate directly to the rat’s brain, where they partially mature.

If a rat lungworm finds its way into a human instead of a rat, the same process occurs, with the worm penetrating the human brain despite the protective barrier.

Once inside the human brain, the rat lungworm attains partial maturity but fails to exit. It proceeds to burrow through different areas of the brain, damaging brain matter and causing inflammation.

Only under rare circumstances does a person’s immune system triumph over the unwelcome parasite, leading to recovery without treatment. The worst-case scenario, as demonstrated by Sam Ballard’s case, involves significant brain damage and subsequent impairment of bodily functions.

Based on this life-altering story, it is strongly advised never to consume raw slugs, whether due to a dare or otherwise.

The Health Benefits of Well-Cooked Slugs

Flora Thompson possessed a remarkable writing talent, which she utilized to contribute monthly pieces to the Catholic Fireside, a magazine in a small town.

These works remained unpublished until Margaret Lane edited and later published them in a collection titled A Country Calendar and Other Writings (link to Amazon). An entry intended for the month of December offers an intriguing read.

In this entry, the author recounts a story about the village of Midlands, where a poor woman raising a large family was unjustly accused of receiving stolen mutton. The villagers were perplexed about how the woman’s children, despite their impoverished circumstances, were the healthiest and most vibrant in the parish.

The accusations eventually reached the parish authorities, prompting them to search the woman’s house. The investigation uncovered barrels filled with dried meat initially presumed to be minced mutton.

However, upon closer examination, it was revealed that these meaty morsels were dried slugs that the woman had gathered and preserved to provide sustenance for her children, who had never tasted any meat, not even stolen mutton.

This tale reminds us that no one should go hungry when an abundance of slugs is available (pun intended).

Why Can You Eat Snails and Not Slugs?

In developed cities, people tend to choose snails over slugs. This decision is not primarily based on taste but rather out of necessity.

Native Americans and European immigrants, particularly, are fond of slug delicacies because they become a viable food source when other options are scarce. These communities rely on Banana slugs as a substantial source of nourishment, making them a preferable choice to avoid hunger.

Banana slugs are specifically highlighted due to their significant size, weighing up to four ounces (113 grams) and growing as long as 9 inches (23 cm). A small collection of these slugs can provide sustenance for large families.

Apart from indigenous communities, wild foragers often cook slugs out of curiosity rather than necessity. For instance, residents of the Northwest hold a festival called Slug Fest, featuring competitions for the best slug recipe.

While the event is primarily for fun, a few individuals typically taste the cooked slugs. Their experiences have contributed to our understanding of the limited taste of slugs, which may explain why people generally prefer snails over slugs.


There is no need to go hungry when nature provides abundant snails and slugs. You may even have the opportunity to challenge your taste buds by trying well-cooked slugs.

However, it is wise to follow the example of the poor woman who collected and preserved these meaty morsels to feed her children. The fact that her children became the healthiest and most vibrant in the village, arousing suspicion about their diet, indicates that we can all benefit from incorporating a slug or two into our meals.

Nonetheless, we should avoid swallowing them raw, unlike the young man mentioned earlier.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do slugs taste like snails?

While slugs and snails are both gastropods and share some similarities, their tastes are not identical due to their differing diets and living environments. However, their mild flavors could seem similar because both are largely influenced by the ingredients and cooking methods used in preparation.

What do snails taste like?

Snails exhibit a mild, earthy flavor and a slightly rubbery texture akin to mushrooms or clams. Their flavor can be significantly enhanced when prepared with garlic, butter, and herbs like parsley or thyme, providing a rich, savory experience.

What do slugs eat?

Slugs are primarily detritivores, meaning they eat decomposing plants, fungi, and even dead animals. They are also known to consume live plants, particularly leafy greens, as well as garden crops, making them a common pest for many gardeners.



  • Paul Odoteh

    Paul Odoteh is an established writer and editor with nearly 10 years of experience in writing and editing. He holds a bachelor's degree in IT and has written for numerous publications and individuals. Currently, Odoteh is dedicated to expanding his blog,, which was inspired by his passion for owning an aquarium.

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