Australia has some odd animals, but the one that slowly killed a young man named Sam Ballard was just an ordinary slug. Who would think that swallowing a slug could put you in a coma, paralyse you and eventually result in your death? Network 10 AU reported that Sam passed away on Friday, surrounded by family and friends. His death came eight years after swallowing a slug after a bit of a dare.

Slugs can kill and you don't need to be in Australia

Network 10 AU reported that Sam had just finished school and, like many young people, got together with his friends for a few drinks and banter.

On the edge of a beautiful life, the Sydney-raised teen swallowed a slug in fun and the rest of his life was destroyed. For his friends who were with him that fateful 2010 day, it must be hard to cope with. How many times have they asked themselves what they could have done differently? None of them thought a slug could kill anyone and they were still at the age when bad things don't happen to nice people. His friend Jimmy and his other mates "spiced things up with a dare," the news outlet reports.

So, an Australian slug was swallowed and the slow suffering began. Slugs can kill you and it turns out it can happen when you ingest one that carries a parasite. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a roundworm, at a certain stage of its lifecycle can infest slugs, snails and even some crabs and shrimp.

Angiostrongylus cantonensis usually lives inside rats. Passed out the body, they get picked up by slugs and the "third-stage larvae" can infect mammals. The bug then travels to the brain. CDC wrote on their website: "The disease can also be acquired by ingestion of contaminated or infected paratenic animals (crabs, freshwater shrimps).

In humans, juvenile worms migrate to the brain, or rarely in the lungs, where the worms ultimately die."

Meningitis results from eating an infected slug

CNN reported that the slug ended up causing a form of meningitis that ultimately killed Sam. They noted that "Heather Stockdale Walden, an assistant professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology at the University of Florida," spoke about the condition.

Known as Rat Lungworm Disease, "When it gets to the brain, you can have eosinophilic meningitis," Walden said, which is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord."

The parasite can become ingested by a human when eating unwashed salads that had slug 'poop' or a piece of an infected slug on it. A simple dare, a quick laugh and a slug snack stole away the life of a promising young man. His mother reportedly dedicated the next eight years helping her son cope. His friends, to their credit, never abandoned him.

The lessons of a dare learned from a young man who died

Kids across the world engage in dares and none of them expect to die. Sam Ballard passed away without his ambitions and dreams being realized.

If his short and tragic life after eating a slug has a moral and a purpose, let it be a warning to people to be very careful about what they eat in the garden. It's way too easy to die when the rewards are just a few seconds of peer respect.