Every morning, one of the first things I do is go on to the patio to throw some food out for the birds."I'll just finish this and then clean up that poopsie one of the dogs has left," I thought, still dazed and bleary-eyed - that is ..... until I noticed the 'poopsie' was moving. :O)
"Oh! It's one of those big orange slugs," I thought to myself as I took a closer look. On googling I found that it is the orange form of the large black slug. There's some more information here.
I measured him and he was 6 inches (15.5 cm) long, but he could extend himself up to 7 3/4 inches (20 cm) if he wanted to.
I laid a fuchsia flower beside him to illustrate his proportions. He showed a little interest in the flower before heading off behind a large flower pot.
When I was googling for information on slugs, much of it comprised of methods on how to kill them. I'm horrified at many of the suggestions and wonder at the kind of people who could carry out such grisly actions.
This particular slug, I discovered, prefers to feed on rotting vegetation rather than living plants which is probably why I have since noticed him hanging out round the compost bin. As you might guess, you wont find any Hostas in our garden - though I'm considering growing one or two as a treat for 'our' sluggies! I have to say that the slugs in our garden have been kind to us and have never caused any destruction to the plants. Maybe it's because of all the frogs that live here...... or maybe it's because I'm such an untidy gardener that there is always plenty of available foodstuffs already provided for them.
I liked this.
(Taken from Hill-Stead's Nature Blog by Dianne Tucker.)
"Slugs can stretch themselves up to twenty times their original length, enabling them to fit into tight spaces. Their slime is laid down in a continuous trail that they can retrace to a satisfying food source. Their friends and relatives can follow it too. Snails have an interrupted slime line."
You can read the full blog post and the rest of the poem here.
Some random facts about slugs.
* There are between 50,000 and 200,00 plus mollusc species alive in the world today. Many species have yet to be discovered and many recently discovered species are yet to be identified and named.
* It travels at a speed of 2 feet in 43 seconds.
* When slugs' teeth wear out, new rows move forward to replace them, conveyor-belt style.
* They have 25,000 teeth.
* Only 5% of the slug population appears above ground at any one time.
* Slugs have four noses!
* They can live up to 6 years.
* If a slug loses an eye or an ear stalk, it can be grown back.
* A slug's blood is green.
* A slug lays 20-100 eggs several times a year. They can lie dormant in the soil for years until conditions are right for them to hatch.
Final word because I love this. :)
"Slug slime is a natural anaesthetic. If you lick a slug enough, your tongue will go numb. In fact, some Native Americans used to put slugs in their mouths when they had toothache and let them crawl around. I don't recommend licking a slug because I'm sure it's not good for them."
I love that! A person after my own heart. :)
Taken from Tser's 'All About Slugs' which is here.