The slug: this is a particularly fine and handsome specimen as he is about five inches long and looks most unappealing. An interesting question is whether a slug would be less un- attractive if it was not quite as slimy.
If it was, for example, furry with big goo-goo eyes then would we be as likely to shower it with pellets or flip it, with an elegant turn of the wrist of which any left handed spinner would be proud, into our neighbour’s shrubbery? Would we then treat it with great affection and make cutesey-pootsie Aaaaah noises whenever we saw a slug?
I can think of a hundred anthropomorphised bunnies but very few cuddly slugs. Actually I can only really think of Brian the snail in the Magic Roundabout and he was not even a slug but a snail which is a much more sympathetic creature anyway.
So, in an attempt to redress the balance as (like the BBC), we here at Crocus aim for an unbiased coverage of such things here are some nice things about slugs.*
They breathe through a pneumostome which is a hole in their sides – easily visible on the handsome chap pictured.
They have four feelers – the top two can see (sort of) and the lower two can smell.
Slugs have a tendency to apophallate which is really quite unsavoury. The penis of one slug corkscrews into another and, after the,ahem, act that penis is then chewed off in an act of post-coital tristesse by the impregnated mate. The slug is unbothered by this as it is hermaphroditic and just lives the rest of its life as a female.
Slugs produce two sorts of mucus – one thick and sticky and the other thin and watery.
Slugs are very useful as they clear up a lot of rotting and dead material which would otherwise litter up the place.
Slugs are preyed upon by pretty much everybody from hedgehogs and toads to lizards, birds and even the brown trout. Life is tough for a slug.
Okay. None of those facts were very nice. I could find no mention of slugs doing sponsored bike rides in aid of sick children or having much in the way of sporting prowess. They have few religious convictions, little conversation, cannot dance and, apart from a useful role as a garbage disposal unit, they are difficult to champion.
Oh well, at least there are lots of them so the few that I gleefully chop in half with a spade will be rapidly replaced.
* some of them may not be nice but at the very least, interesting. If you like that sort of thing.