Not everyone is fond of slugs, but here are five facts which might just change your mind!
Slugs are just like snails
Except their shells are on the inside! Slugs and snails are both molluscs, and all molluscs have a hard plate to protect their internal organs, called a mantle. On snails, this is an obvious spiral shell which can be brightly coloured or patterned, but slugs keep their mantle hidden inside their body.
They’re not a fan of cold weather
Slugs will only come out and about when it is over 5 degrees C. They’re also at risk of drying out if there isn’t enough moisture in the air or on the ground, so in dry, cold weather they stay deep in the soil.
Slugs support lots of other wildlife!
You might not be a fan of their slimy trails, or when they munch on plants in your garden, but slugs are very important to lots of other wildlife! Slugs are food for birds, including owls, mammals like hedgehogs and foxes, as well as amphibians and reptiles, making them a key part of your garden ecosystem.
Not all slugs are leaf lovers
In fact, not all the slugs in your garden will be damaging your vegetables! A few species of slugs only eat dead and decaying plant matter, mulching the nutrients back into the soil, and some types, such as the leopard slug, are carnivorous, and eat other slugs!
Their love lives can be complicated…
Slugs are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive cells. But they must find a mate to exchange sperm with before they can reproduce. They lay batches of gelatinous, watery eggs in moist crevices, and the climate determines how quickly the eggs develop and hatch – the warmer it is, the quicker they develop. It takes about a year for slugs to mature into adults, which can live for about two years.
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