Naturalist’s Corner – Slugs!

Naturalist’s Corner – Slugs!

Posted March 25, 2020

Written by Kyla Isakson

Photograph by Amy Pettigrew

Springtime means more animals are becoming active, and that includes slugs! Slugs are classified as invertebrates because they have soft bodies and no bones. They are also classified as gastropods, which translates to ‘stomach foot’. Slugs have a large muscular foot that spans the length of their bodies, which is used to move, burrow, and anchor to one place.

During the winter and dry conditions, slugs burrow underground or hide under rocks and logs. They are most active during cooler weather, early morning or at night, and after it rains. They do this to minimize water loss from their bodies during the day because they need the moisture to produce slime. Slime allows them to smoothly travel across the ground and maintain the moisture in their bodies. Slugs have two pairs of tentacles on their heads: the longer tentacles have eyes on the end, and the shorter tentacles are used for smell and taste. Animal scat, fungi, and decomposing material are among the items slugs choose to eat.

Slugs can be known to be a nuisance in gardens, but just be mindful that they are just trying to find something tasty to eat, and your garden serves up some pretty great food!

(C) Wareham Land Trust ~ provided by New Bedford Internet