While weeding the garden right around sunset, I noticed a few globs of white in the soil by a decorative log. After a few minutes, they started moving. As they stretched out, they became brown, slimy little feet with two antennae.
As I watched, about two dozen slugs slithered up from the soil and out of the log. No wonder I had so many holes in my rhubarb leaves. Every night, the slugs were leaving their hotel and dining on my plants. Unknowingly, I had created the perfect slug habitat with that moist, half rotted log.
So, what do I know about slugs?
- They are basically snails without shells, but luckier, because their cousins got brought over from France in the 1850’s so people could eat them. Snails for dinner are called escargot.
- They dry out when sprinkled with salt (I know, because I was mean enough to do this as a kid in my uncle’s radish patch with my cousins). The process for which they dehydrate, or dry out, is called osmosis.
- All slugs can lay eggs, which means they are hermaphrodites. In other words, there are no boy slugs or girl slugs. Just different kinds of slugs.
- Slugs hate the heat. It dries them out almost as fast as salt does. So, if you want to catch a slug, you should do it just as it starts getting dark.
- When it’s cold, they hide in the topsoil in gardens–or in logs that people think look nice, but really make a great slug hotel!
- I have eaten a snail once, but I have never eaten any slugs.
So, if snails were brought over from a foreign country because the French people thought they were so yummy, why don’t people eat slugs? I mean, wouldn’t it be easier without the shell and all?
I had to look the answer up. People don’t eat slugs because they are much slimier than snails. Without a shell to protect them from the sun and the salt shaker, slugs have to produce gobs of slime to keep themselves from drying out and dying.
So there you have it. Slugs are more pesky and less tasty than snails.
Have you ever eaten a snail? If you have a garden, how do you take care of the slugs so they don’t ruin your plants?
Curious minds want to know.