Where Do Slugs Sleep?

October 15, 2023

If you’ve ever walked through your garden at night and stepped on a slimy trail of slugs, you know that these nocturnal gastropods can be quite the nuisance. Their crepuscular behavior, sensitivity to environmental factors, and important role in reproduction make them intriguing creatures. In fact, slugs mate while they sleep, which may help them to synchronize mating behaviors and maximize the chances of passing their genes on to the next generation.

In general, slugs are at their most active in cool, dark and moist environments. This is why you’ll find them under rocks, planters and other structures, in mulch, logs and compost piles, or anywhere else that’s damp and shady. Some slugs even have fixed hiding spots that they stay in all winter long, such as the Roman snail — known in the cuisine of France as escargot – which burrows into moss and the top layer of soil and stays there during the cold months.

Slugs have several defense mechanisms to protect them from predators, including their slippery mucus which deters predators by making it difficult to grip and also acts as a lubricant when they move over rough surfaces. They can also retract their bodies into their shells to protect them from attack, and they produce chemicals that taste unpleasant to predators. Some species of slugs are also poisonous and can emit toxic vapors to discourage predators.

You can discourage slugs in your garden by using various methods of deterrence, such as egg shells or salt, though be aware that the latter can burn plants and can also cause the soil to become saturated with salt, which can eventually kill them. A better option is copper strips or wires, which act as tiny electric fences for slugs by sending them a small shock when they try to cross them. Just remember to check and empty the traps frequently to avoid overcrowding them with slugs.

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