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Swede in new slimy slug slaughter: 27,000 killed

The Local · 16 Jul 2012, 12:33

Published: 16 Jul 2012 12:33 GMT+02:00

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76-year-old Sven Lagergren has had enough of the "killer slugs" (mördersniglar) that have taken over the gardens of his café, Gula Huset, in Brålanda, north of Gothenburg.

“They’ve taken over, it's absolute madness! I’ve killed almost 28,000 this summer,” he told The Local.

Using a long handled ice-scraper with a 10 centimetre wide blade, the 76-year-old firmly slices the slugs in half with one quick jab.

“I don’t miss,” he said, adding that the slugs die immediately.

The Spanish slug, or Arion lusitanicus as it is formally known, is foreign to traditional Swedish fauna but has been ravaging gardens across the country since first being seen in 1975.

Today the slimy organism can be found throughout southern Sweden, in most of central Sweden, and even along the country's northern coastal areas.

Lagergren has been killing the slugs every summer for three years now, but it wasn’t until this year that he began keeping a tally.

And with this summer being especially wet, he thinks the rain has given him more work this year than ever before.

“It’s this damned weather's fault! It’s been raining so much this summer that they’re everywhere. Today’s quite sunny, I’ve only killed 100… but on one rainy day I killed 4,700.”

Lagergren explains that he has tried poisoning the slimy creatures, but hasn’t seen any kind of decline in numbers, and so decided to take matters into his own hands.

“What can you do, they don’t stop coming!? They even eat the ones I’ve killed. They’re disgusting!”

When asked if he had heard of Hilkka Risberg, 65, from Gävle, who recently told The Local about the 14,000 slugs she had killed this summer, Lagergren confirmed that he had.

With a kill count of 27,700, does this make him Sweden’s most successful slug hunter?

Story continues below…

“I guess you could say it’s some minor form of celebrity status,” he chuckles.

“But I’d much rather be known for something more fun than all this.”

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:01 July 16, 2012 by hackie
The crazy slugs are taking over everywhere. I wonder how many eggs they lay per second.
14:10 July 16, 2012 by Svensksmith
Good job for the unemployed: slug catchers!
17:25 July 16, 2012 by S.J.
Swedens OAP's like to kill things during their free time? Hahaa, amazing
19:38 July 16, 2012 by rsmehdihasan
poor slug...!!!!
05:53 July 17, 2012 by Ian C. Purdie - Sydney
If anyone hasn't woke up yet, they're likely a potential economic nightmare.

We have the continually spreading cane toads and notwithstanding extreme quarantine regulations, we now have some small snails infesting wheat pastures and devaluing wheat crops by 50 - 70%. We've encountered an imported virus [via foreign bilge water] which totally wiped out all the local oyster farms.

The list goes on, and the economic loss is in the $billions.
12:15 July 17, 2012 by B Slick
I go to my garden arrmed with scissors in each hand cutting in half every slug that i see. The Swedish Goverment needs to take direct concrete actions to wipe out this slug now! There is no time to waste with meetings, conferences and debates!
08:44 July 18, 2012 by cattie
What are the economic losses in terms of agriculture? Who benefits from a passive response? Of course the slugs, but they are hardly endangered are they?
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