WW1 Common Garden Slug Brigade

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by tlspiegel, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. tlspiegel

    tlspiegel New Member

    Did you know the lowly common garden slug was used to protect the United States soldiers during World War1?

    In June 1918 slugs were taken to the front battlefields during the last 5 months of the war. Mustard gas (a poison) was used on the battlefields. It's a deadly weapon.

    Garden slugs can detect mustard gas long before humans can, and indicate their discomfort to the gas. When they come in contact with the gas, in response to their distress they visibly compress their bodies and close their breathing pores in order to protect their lung membrane.

    When the soldiers in the trenches noticed this, they quickly put on their gas masks. The slug brigade saved many soldiers lives.

    Slugs can detect 1 particle per 10 - 12,000,000 particles of air, which is three times more than a human can. This was discoverd by Dr. Paul Bartsch from the Smithsonian Institute who had been studying garden slugs for almost a decade when the United States entered the war.

    In addition to mustard gas harming humans, many animals and birds developed pneumnoia when exposed to mustard gas. This danger made it difficult to keep the animals healthy on the front lines.

    So, there you have it... all you needed to know about the ugly common garden slug!
    Read more here about Dr. Paul Bartsch and the garden slug discovery:
    Sluggish Behavior

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