While a menace to the gardener, slugs are very fascinating creatures with an essential role in nature. Do you know how many teeth slugs have? What about those tiny white spheres that you might have seen in the soil? Take a moment to slow down, way down, to learn some fun and surprising facts about slugs!
1) Have you ever come across tiny white spheres in the soil while digging? Those are slug eggs! They can remain dormant for years until the right environmental conditions are met.
2) 90 to 95 percent of slugs are below ground.
3) Slugs can stretch up to 20 times their normal length.
4) Slugs evolved from snails, leaving behind the shell due to a lack of calcium and high humidity. However, that mantle you see on the back of some slugs is a vestige of its snail origin. Snails and slugs are basically the same except for the shell that slugs lost over time.
5) A slug can create around 90,000 offspring during its lifetime.
6) Slugs have more teeth than sharks – 27,000 to be precise. These teeth are lost and replaced as necessary, just like a shark’s teeth.
7) Slugs have both male and female reproductive parts. Interestingly, during copulation the penis can become stuck, so one slug will chew it off. Not to worry since it will live and can continue to reproduce, though only with its female genitalia.
8) You’ve probably seen a squashed slug and noticed a green-yellowish fluid. That fluid is slug blood, and the color is due to hemocyanin, a molecule that transports oxygen in slugs.
9) Slug slime has many purposes. Not only does the slime help slugs glide over surfaces, but also aids in climbing vertically due to its sticky nature. And just as your fingerprint is totally unique to you, so too is a slug’s slime!
10) Everyone knows that slugs are slow. The relatively large banana slug travels at a whopping 6.5 inches per minute.
11) The hole on the right side of a slug functions as part of its respiratory system just as you breathe through your mouth or nose.
“A slug is always on its own.”
— Karl Pilkington