Snail Eats Man's Brain

From the Mailbag

Dear Urban Legends:

My husband said he heard a report on the news about a man who had a headache and balance problems. When he went to the doctor, surgery was performed and they found a snail had eaten part of his brain. I say balderdash.

Dear Reader:

Interesting, considering that most snails eat only vegetable matter (no insult to the victim intended).

The story is balderdash indeed. It did happen to run as a "news item" some years ago, but consider the source: that font of journalistic integrity, the Weekly World News.

Other hot scoops the supermarket tabloid has published in recent years include "Robot Crab Crushes Woman!" and "Giant Whirlpool Is Sucking Ships Right Off the Face of the Earth!" Draw your own conclusion.

Mind you, medical experts do say you can end up with parasites in your brain by eating snails — raw snails, specifically. There is a parasitic worm known as Angiostrongylus cantonensis whose larvae live in molluscs, including snails and slugs. It doesn't happen often, but people have ended up with a rare form of meningitis after consuming raw molluscs. Food for thought!

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