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Slug-Killers for Rent

DW staff (win)August 15, 2007

German gardeners struggling with a slug invasion can now deploy an extremely effective and all-natural pesticide.

Duck with slug in beak
Lunch timeImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

As if the rainy summer wasn't bad enough, people in Germany are now grappling with an invasion of the so-called Spanish slug. Arion lusitanicus, as the animal's called in Latin, has been giving nightmares to vegetable growers throughout the country.

Picture of a slug
Slugs are a serious annoyance for German garderners this yearImage: AP

Beer-filled cans buried in the ground that attract the beasts and let them drown are one way to declare war on the pest, but there's only so many slugs that fit in a can.

That's why some people have now turned for help elsewhere: ducks. A special kind -- known as "Indian running ducks" in German -- seems to love the glibbery, bitter slugs that any self-respecting hedgehog won't even lick.

Now, the ducks can be bought for around 10 euros ($13.6), which doesn't seem like a big investment. But keeping them all year round might place a bit of a burden on most people. That's why one man in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein has decided to offer the ducks for rent.

Kiwitt with a duck
Kiwitt with one of his employeesImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

For 25 euros, Werner Kiwitt will send a pair of ducks to people's home to take counter the slug plague. Apparently, quite a few people have taken him up on the offer and seem quite pleased with the result.

"Some people think this is just a gag, but the ducks are really good at getting rid of the slugs," Kiwitt told reporters, adding that he won't charge extra for the fertilizer the animals tend to provide once they've feasted on the slugs.

Sounds like a deal that's hard to refuse.