Fascinating Sluggy Facts
While creating this website I discovered many fascinating – and some truly bizarre – facts about the humble slug. It really is a remarkable little creature.
I know I’ve already mentioned many of them throughout the pages of ‘Slug Off’, but I’m sure you’ll love reading them all here together in one place.
Did you know...
- Only 5% of the slug population is above ground at any one time. The other 95% is underground digesting your seedlings, laying eggs, and feeding on roots and seed sprouts.
- A slug’s blood is green.
- Most British slugs eat rotting vegetation, but a few are carnivorous.
- Slugs do play an important role in ecology by eating decomposing vegetation.
- A slug lays 20-100 eggs several times a year.
- Slug eggs can lay dormant in the soil for years and then hatch when conditions are right.
- Gastropods form the second largest class in the animal kingdom, the largest being the insects.
- Slugs are hermaphrodite, having both male and female reproductive organs.
- Slugs have been present in the British Isles since the end of the last ice age.
- In favourable conditions a slug can live for up to 6 years.
- A slug is basically a muscular foot, and the name ‘gastropod’ literally means stomach foot.
- Unlike snails that hibernate during winter, slugs are active whenever the temperature is above 5°C.
- A slug is essentially a snail without a shell.
- Slugs used to live in the ocean, which is why they still need to keep moist.
- One individual field slug has the potential to produce about 90,000 grandchildren.
- British gardeners use over 400 billion slug pellets every year.
- It’s been estimated that an acre of farmland may support over 250,000 slugs.
- Research has shown that the average UK garden has a population of over 20,000 slugs and snails.
- A cubic metre of garden will on average contain up to 200 slugs.
- A slug’s slime enables it to glide without difficulty over glass shards, or even the edge of a razor blade.
- Slugs have the capability to reproduce by themselves, although a mate is preferred.
- When picked up or touched, the Black Slug will contract into a hemispherical shape and begin to rock from side to side. This behaviour confuses predators.
- Slugs leave their own individual scent trail so they can find their way home.
- A slug’s slime absorbs water, which is why it’s nearly impossible to wash it off your hands.
- A slug’s slime contains fibres which prevents it from sliding down vertical surfaces.
- A slug smells with its body.
- Britain is home to around 30 species of slug.
- A slug can stretch out to 20 times its normal length, enabling it to squeeze through the smallest of openings.
- A slug has approximately 27,000 teeth – that’s more teeth than a shark.
- Like sharks, slugs routinely lose and replace their teeth.
- When a slug loses one of its sensory tentacles it grows another, usually within a few months.
- Vinegar is a good ingredient for slug sprays, and for removing slug slime.
The Little Book of Slugs
Want to learn more about the slugs in your garden?
Then I think you’ll like The Little Book of Slugs by Allan Shepherd & Suzanne Galant, with its mix of zany humour and sound practical advice.
- Know your enemy; even the slug has its Achilles Heel.
- Tired of fighting? Grow plants that slugs won’t eat.
- Over 70 ways to combat slugs without using chemical pellets.
What do you want to do now
The Little Book of Slugs
by Allan Shepherd
& Suzanne Galant
A hilarious account of how to garden without using slug pellets.
This little book succeeds in mixing good practical advice with zany humour.
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