Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Slug Fest

Slugs are most gardeners worst nightmare, in one night they can demolish a whole row of your choicest hostas or your crispiest lettuce. Britain has 23 species of slug and the great black slug is one of the largest. In spite of their name they can be black, brown, brick-red, orange and grey.

Having no shell, slugs need a means of keeping their soft bodies from drying out. This is provided by a layer of sticky mucus over their body, giving slugs their characteristic sliminess. Slugs are rarely seen during the day, they need the cool of the night to come out and play.

And this is the playground they leave behind in the morning:

But there is another side to slugs.

Watch and be amazed! This is a breathtaking spectacle of leopard slugs mating in the most sinuous and beautiful display. Music, Dancing and Sex, all that's missing is Poetry, but poets just simply won't touch slugs!


  1. Hi Friko

    Just amazing , dear old David Attenborough - you can't help but love him...I am watching a series of his wildlife adventures on TV currently.

    But your sensual slug swirling is pure Attenborough magic...even the slimy sounds....

    Every time that you berate a slug for nibbling your plants you will now remember the slug sonata.

    Happy days

  2. He he. I am so glad this has reappeared on your blog. I saw it last night - wrote a comment and then it disappeared and I thought I imagined it!!! Lovely bit of film - didn't realise slugs had so much fun!!

  3. We had slugs that ate our hostas a few years back. At that time I was frequenting a current events chat on Yahoo. I commented about the slugs and an avid gardener from the UK gave me a plan to rid the hosta bed of slugs.

    Cut a Coke can in half. Fill the half with beer. Prop the can up in a small hole in the hosta bed. The slugs crawl up to drink the beer and they get drunk and cannot crawl out. ;)


    use cheap beer.

  4. Nooooooooo - I don't want to know about the slugs. We've just erected a very high fence around two acres, in an attempt to deter the deer that have made gardening impossible. Guess what my first plant purchase was for the newly-safe front bed.....hosta. I will be out there with the flashlight looking for the darn slugs if I have to!
    Glad to hear that you may join us on Purplecoo. I look forward to seeing you there!

  5. That was amazing, Friko! Actually very beautiful. Have you visited the "Adventures of Mr. Slug and Friends?" They're considering pursuing some such ambition now over there: www.babbler-slimyslugfriends.blogspot.com.

  6. You're right, that was amazing. We have our own slug fest, and my wife being the keen gardener of the family, I don't think I dare show it to her - but who knows, I just might! Thanks.

  7. NO! I feel ill, that slurping sound, that gooey stretch of slime. Feel ill and faint and in need of restorative fudge. YUK!

  8. Delwyn - Isn't he ! good old uncle David, no one does it better.

    Twiglet - sorry, I was messing about, took the clip off the wrong site first and had to retrieve it pronto before they clapped me in irons.

    Chancy - glad you've got here under your own name! I've used the beer trap before, at least they die happy. But it's horrible to clear the tin out afterwards.

    Pondside - wimp! Seriously, I could cry when the beasts demolish my prize hostas. I now keep the most unusual specimen in pots. Glad to be on Purplecoo. Now all I have to learn is how to get my picture on to posts from Mac. Why are there never any boffins who know about Macs?

    Margaret - Thank you. Actually, I am not THAT enamoured of slugs to search them out on web sites generally. But I'll risk a peep with just one eye for now.

    Dave - Go on, be brave, she might like the clip and feel more kindly disposed towards the little beasties before she grinds them to death under her heel.

    Milla - again, wimp! hope the fudge helped.

  9. Hi Cuban in London, your comment on the slug clip turned up under the previous post. Probably my fault, I was doing my best to mess up my blog in my usual ham-fisted way. Still, careful of slugs? You are not a gardener, I take it?

  10. Amazing video, thanks, Friko!

    Actually, I found this poem.

  11. GRRRrrr why can't they eat the blackberry bushes taking over this property here ( Pacific Northwest USA). Oh no, they go straight for the hostas! I like your photo above of the columbine. Also called......what is it? Well, you know being a gardener. Cute pup too! :)

  12. I am surprised that slugs in the UK do not have shells. Because the other type of slugs we have in the UK usually wear shell suits.

  13. Not keen on slugs, but interesting I suppose. My daughter used to have a book, in rhyme but hardly poetry about slugs. I wish I could remember it's name.

  14. Lovely to have you among us - and great to find your blog (you're now on the list...)
    Now, slugs, sensitive subject. I found one on a lettuce leaf at 7.30 this morning. Unfortunately it was discovered after I'd popped it in my mouth. Not good. Served me right for being greedy and eating lettuce straight from the garden (in fact - CAN you be greedy with lettuce? It's not something commonly associated with gluttony, is it?)
    So - basically, yes, Slugs, urgh. What IS the point of them?

  15. A fascinating bit of film, Friko!
    I still heartily dislike the creatures but this really was worth watching! Thanks for sharing it!

  16. Francessa - you're back. I shall have to go over to yours and see what you've been up to in Bavaria. Thanks for finding a "poem" on slugs for me.

    Seashell - thanks for calling. Glad you like my aquilegia picture. the "pup' is an elderly gentleman called Benno.

    Dave Pie-n-Mash - Where have you been Dave, not even in Dagenham or Barking do they still wear shell suits. No bling.
    Also, thanks for joining.I consider it a great honour. You didn't think you could remain anonymous?

    Faith - Thanks for calling. Poetry and slugs just don't seem to go together, do they?

    KittyB - Lettuce at 7.30 am? In the garden? Do you wear hairshirts too?
    Glad to be on board; a bit of a difficult birth - not quite over yet either.

    Rosy - lovely to hear from you. Yes, on the whole I think the clip is rather splendid.

  17. Half past three. Yes, again middle of the night.Still hot over here. Probably takes more than five years to get used to it. Kids awake often too. Moving into the new home in two weeks, having a garden, your entry was indeed of interest.

  18. This is a beautiful piece of camera work. I did not know slugs could be romantic.

  19. Ahhh, the slug sonata! It brings me back to my wedding night in the garden.....Thank you for enlightening the masses regarding the slug dance of love, I did not realize we slugs were so beautiful until I saw the delicacy in which we exchange our most intimate slime. Red cheeked and optical tentacles quivering, I slid over to fetch Mr. Slug so he could see this wonderful slugumentary! He enjoyed it immensely. I have to sign off now as Mr. Slug has decided to cook me some dinner and serve me a festive beverage. He has even put on a Barry White album. Bye now! Love, Mrs. Slug

  20. Just too wonderful for words - but only, I can't help feeling, half the story. What happens then? I want to ask. Presumably there is some egg laying and then hatching, but how, where? And if this is what Leopard slugs do - how about the slugs in my garden? And what about snails, whose shells must surely get in the way. And who decides which slugs are leaders and which followers? Or why otherwise would they not all end up in an endless circle? Or alternatively just slither with determination away from each other in opposite directions? As they say a little learning (even about slugs) can be a dangerous thing.

  21. Ah so now I know what was going on on the doorframe right outside my back door the other night. . . you never know what your neighbours are getting up to.

    I am not a huge fan of slugs - but they are part of the planet we live on and it is just as much their planet as we like to think it is ours!!!!! Then again I don't have any prize plants for them to destroy - the deer and the rabbits ate them all . . . and the pots I put up on our first floor decking the red squirrels dig up . . . but I am honoured by each and ever visit and now I am going to look for my marbles.

  22. On 19th February this year, I posted a poem which had the following verse:-

    Unaided, my garden apparently thrived.
    Now slugs slither, while passing cats fight,
    as aphids, black fly, lace wings and snails
    munch away to their small hearts' delight...

    So slugs and poetry do go together sometimes!(There are several more verses, if you go back to look!)

  23. Robert - how do you do it, when do you sleep? it's always lovely to hear from you but I'm getting worried. Thanks for calling in and I hope the new home will be cooler? Are you looking forward to some gardening?

    Vagabonde - Hi there. I suppose every creature has to be "romantic" at some time.

    babbler - OOOOH, romance. sorry if I let the cat out of the bag regarding the goings on at the Slugs' family home.

    Fennie - Heavens, you don't want to know a lot, do you! Being hermaphrodites, this is probably the most fun slugs can have. After their dance they crawl into a dark corner and lay eggs; these live throughout winter and produce a new generation of slugs in spring.

    I expect the ones in our gardens have fun too, that heap of slime trails in my photo above is probably the visible remnant of a slug orgy.

    Westerwitch/Headmistress - Have you found them? What do you want them for? By the way, I refuse to sit outside your study door and wait for a ticking off.

    Jinksy - You should have said! Quite a busy place, your garden.

  24. Fabulous clip Friko. Still don't like them tho! I did a blog on them a month or so back too!

  25. Calico Kate - what is it with slugs, nobody likes them. what are they FOR?

    I think you are the second or third person now who's said, they've done slugs.

  26. Sort of gives new meaning to the phrase "getting dumped" after a night of love, doesn't it?!!


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