Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


What’s really going on in the backyard . . .

Slugs are up to some serious hanky-pank. Sublime slime.

They inhabit our gardens and savor our edible plants. We, therefore, pay attention to them. We’re firm in our belief that slugs are nasty, the bane of our vegetable gardens, and we’re hopeful their numbers decline as a result of the recent deep freeze – their tiny eggs, though rugged, must be irretrievably chilled right about now. But who knew that they have an enviable love life? Indigenous to the west coast, the mating habits of leopard slugs are worthy of attention. It turns out they’re not so sluggish after all.

Most of us carry on about slugs and never feel the need to clarify why we don’t eat them as M.F.K. Fisher did in her 1937 essay, “Fifty Million Snails”:

“I have eaten several strange things since I was twelve, and I shall be glad to taste broiled locusts and swallow a live fish.  But unless I change very much, I shall never be able to eat a slug.  My stomach jumps alarmingly at the thought of it.
I have tried to be callous about slugs.  I have tried to picture the beauty of their primeval movements before a fast camera, and I have forced myself to read in the Encyclopaedia Britannica the harmless ingredients of their oozy bodies.  Nothing helps.  I have a horror, deep in my marrow, of everything about them.  Slugs are awful, slugs are things from the edges of insanity, and I am afraid of slugs and all their attributes.
But I like snails.  Most people like snails”.

Just when you think you know slugs, and that you’ll never have one on your dinner table, you stumble upon a little porn film about their procreative habits, their finely tuned, choreographed and prolonged flights of love, and you can’t help but feel a circumspect regard.

This video of their prowess in the garden love nest  – and I don’t use the word nest or Kama Sutra lightly – is something to behold. A leopard slug’s backyard bedroom action . . .  enough said, sit back, watch, and be amazed.

Thanks Roz, via your science teacher, for passing this on.

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7 Responses »

  1. Not in my backyard! Charlie just assured me that OUR slugs don’t do that.

  2. I always wondered why there aren’t really any slugs to speak of in Maine, where we spend some of our summers. I thought it might be the heat but it makes more sense that it’s the freezing cold. That would be a nice bonus in the garden this coming summer.

  3. Mark (Sally’s friend) turned me on to your blog and this particularly fascinating video. Just great!! I liked your blog so much that I’ve shared the link in a post on the Tacoma News Tribune’s “In Your Neighbourhood” blog. Here’s the link for you…


    Hope you get lots of readers…I know I’ll be back!

  4. Frisky little critters, aren’t they!?!

  5. Poppy, I know how very refined your slugs are and that they would never engage in such debauchery.
    Audrey, wouldn’t it be a bonus that in exchange for more potholes we might have fewer slugs?
    Lorraine, thanks for spreading the word, though be forewarned that our postings are not usually so sexually explicit.
    And Jo, who knew? They’re not so sluggish after all are they?

  6. Sally, I don’t think my poor ol’ heart could take much more anyhoo!

    Refined slugs…now there’s a phrase.

  7. When I was a kid we awoke one morning to find that there had been a slimey slug swingers’ ball on the sliding glass door. Ew ew ew!