DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Metaldehyde is used worldwide to control slugs and snails in crops, as well as by private gardeners. It is a cyclic tetramer of acetaldehyde, poisonous to all forms of animal life, with a lethal dose of 100-300mg/kg. On ingestion it is partially degraded to acetaldehyde, an irritant. In slugs and snails, this results in the production of large amounts of mucus, as well as partial paralysis. Death is by dehydration. Slug pellets formulated with bran can be attractive to wildlife and domestic pets. Birds and animals such as hedgehogs may be affected by eating slugs or snails that have ingested metaldehyde. Farmers are subject to regulations restricting use of metaldehyde. In late 2012, its levels in UK waterways exceeded EU limits.The picture shows a slug that has ingested a slug pellet containing metaldehyde. It is stranded, immobile, with a trail of mucus behind it.
Model release not required. Property release not required.