Slug Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a slug?
A slug is a type of mollusk, similar to snails.
What class of animal does a slug belong to?
A slug belongs to the class of Gastropoda.
How many slugs are there in the world?
There is no exact population count of slugs or other gastropods. However, on average there are 200 slugs living in 1 cubic m (35 cubic ft) of soil which means that in an average-sized garden, there are over 15,000 slugs!
Where does a slug live?
Slugs usually live in a dark, damp habitat. They have damp bodies and if they don’t live in a wet habitat, they might dry out. A slug can be usually found in areas created by humans like sheds and gardens. They are found all over the world in damp and cool habitats.
What is a slug's habitat?
Since slugs have soft and gooey bodies, they need a moist environment to survive. Dry air can desiccate their mass. This is also the reason why most of them live underground.
Who do slugs live with?
On hot days, slugs often huddle together in the shade, flank to flank. However, this is not for socializing, but to remain cool.
How long does a slug live?
The lifespan of a slug is about six years. However, their eggs can remain dormant for years and hatch when the conditions are right.
How do they reproduce?
Slug species are hermaphrodites which means they have male as well as female reproductive organs. After locating their mate, they encircle each other mate. After a few days, they lay about 30 eggs in the ground or under the cover of an object like a log.
What is their conservation status?
Slugs are mostly Not Extinct, but there are some Endangered species of slugs.
Slug Fun Facts
What do slugs look like?
A slug looks like a fat worm that has two snail-like eyestalks. Their eyestalks are what give them vision, but they also have olfactory organs. Slugs have four noses! They also have two small tentacles that are used as taste buds and feelers under their eyestalks. Under their tentacles, there is a mouth that releases a radula, a tongue-like organ with teeth-like protrusions that handle food before ingestion.
Most slugs are gray or light brown in color. However, the banana slug of the Pacific Northwest is known for its bright yellow-colored body. Their skin is exceptionally moist and is often covered with a layer of slimy mucus. This layer helps protect it from predators who dislike the taste and retain moisture. Slugs have no shell as opposed to snails.
How cute are they?
Most people find slugs to be incredibly gross to look at, but for a snail lover, they can be adorable.
How do they communicate?
The slime trails of slugs and snails are used as a lubricant and a glue, as well as for communication. The slime trail helps them glide forward by lifting pressure and helps them stick to surfaces by applying pressure. This slime is made of carbohydrate mucus and a hygroscopic protein which means that it can absorb moisture from the air and doesn’t evaporate. The chemicals present inside the slime are also used for communication.
How big is a slug?
An adult slug’s size ranges between 4-8 in (10-20 cm) in length.
How fast can a slug move?
Slugs can travel at a speed ranging from 0.009-0.042 ft/s (0.0028-0.013 m/s).
How much does a slug weigh?
The average mass weight of a slug is 32.17 lb (14.59 kg).
What are the male and female names of the species?
Male and female slugs do not have specific names.
What would you call a baby slug?
There is no name for a baby slug.
What do they eat?
Slugs can eat almost everything. They can be carnivores, herbivores, omnivores, and detritivores (animals that eat decaying waste from animals and plants). There are some generalist and specialist species of slugs that eat worms, rotting vegetation, fungus, animal waste, and other snails specifically.
Are they poisonous?
The typical garden slug is not toxic. They eat fungi, plants, and decaying plant matter and have no direct way of harming you. However, they are a host to a dangerous parasite called rat lungworm. Slugs contract the parasite by eating infected rodents’ feces.
Would they make a good pet?
The slug can be a great pet for someone who is looking for a small and unique animal. They can be cared for relatively easily. You can feed them plants like fruits and vegetables but please note that slugs can be sensitive to chemicals so they should be kept far away from tap water and hair spray.
Did you know...
When slugs are attacked, they contract their body and make themselves hardened, compact, and round. This allows them to get attached to the substrate beneath them. Combining this with the mucus they produce, makes it difficult for predators (such as frogs, toads, and hedgehogs) to grasp them. They also produce a highly elastic and sticky mucus that can incapacitate their predators by trapping them.
Slugs have 27,000 teeth and are capable of biting humans!
Different types of slug
There are so many common types of slugs, from the metal slug and the banana slug to the sea slug, take a look at some of the best-known species here!
Great gray slug: This slug has dark blotches on its body. They are commonly found in woods and gardens and can climb walls and trees.
Yellow slug: This type of slug has a yellow coloration on its body with yellow and gray blotches and blue tentacles. They can be found in cellars, outhouses, and gardens.
Large black slug: They have a black body with an orange frill. There are also gray, brown, and orange forms of this slug. They reside in woodland and gardens.
Tree slug: This can look like a smaller version of the great gray slug. However, they have elongated spots and overall look more mottled. They also have a stripy appearance and are usually found in woods where they climb trees to graze lichen and algae.
Costs and benefits of slugs
Slugs are capable of clearing an area of dying and dead matter and one of their purposes is to help spread seeds in dung and vegetation. They eat living vegetation as well as organic matter. As nature’s decomposers, they break down organic matter and release nutrients enriching the soil, making them pretty special! This is why it is best not to kill slugs in your garden.
This doesn’t mean that slugs are harmless though. The slimy mucus produced by slugs can result in vomiting and excess drool if ingested. Also, some slugs carry the rat lungworm parasite that can transfer to your pet. If a human or animal eats one of these slugs, the parasite will travel into the brain and spinal cord resulting in tissue damage. This parasite can even kill. The parasite can get transmitted from the residue left by slugs on salad greens or vegetables.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other gastropods including blue sea slug facts and apple snail facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our slug coloring pages.