Fascinating Sluggy Facts

Cartoon of a zany green slug

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.

For instance...

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

The Little Book of Slugs: book cover

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.

The Little Book of Slugs
Find out more

More books about slugs

What do you want to do now

The Little Book of Slugs

by Allan Shepherd
& Suzanne Galant

The Little Book of Slugs: book cover

A hilarious account of how to garden without using slug pellets.

This little book succeeds in mixing good practical advice with zany humour.

The Little Book of Slugs
Find out more

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