Skip to main content

The Daily Bucket is a place where we share our observations about the natural world. Whether we note the first flowers of spring or the appearance of a new bug, we are building a resource to learn more about the patterns of nature and how they may be changing. Everyone is welcome to contribute!  Just tell us what you are seeing in your backyard or wherever you are roaming and approximately where your observations come from.
NE Corner of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

When most people think of the Pacific Northwest, they imagine rain, rainforests, snow-covered mountains, salmon, and more rain.  And, of course, this critter which is my garden nemesis.

Banana Slug

I woke up this morning to view the slimy "sole" of a Banana Slug crawling up the outside of my study window. Here in the Pacific NorthWet, we use the term "Banana Slug" to describe several species of really big slugs.  They don't all have to be the yellow color of bananas.  They can range from white to black and sometimes have interesting spots.  

Ariolimax Columbianus
Did I mention they can be really big? The Pacific Banana Slug (above) can grow up to 8 inches long.  This European Black Slug (below) is about average for its species.
Arion ater (European black slug)
Avion ater
Just imagine what one of these slugs can do to seedlings in your garden overnight! First thing each morning, I do my "slug walk" during which I skewer any slugs that have gotten into my raised beds.  Slug-kabobs anyone? Other folks use the traditional beer traps.  They do work - the beer attracts the slugs and they drown (happily, we presume).  Unfortunately, one of my dogs developed a taste for beer.  She dug up the trap, drank the beer, then brought the empty container back to me as if asking for a refill.

Outside of my garden, I let them live.  Afterall, I moved into their coastal coniferous forest habitat when I built my house here.  They are great recyclers of decaying plant matter and they help to disperse seeds and spores.  They are welcome to live in my compost pile.

They are actually fascinating slime-based creatures.  They depend on secreting several different kinds of mucus for locomotion, self-defense, protection against dehydration, and even navigation.  Their predators need to deal with extra thick slime that they secrete when threatened - one technique being to roll them in dirt to bind the mucus.  They might even be considered pretty.  Notice the ruffled skirt around the base of the Pacific Banana Slug and the pleats behind the mantle of the European Black Slug.

To help us learn to love Banana Slugs, here's an excerpt of lyrics from a song about them:

Banana Slug, Banana Slug, I like them, they’re beautiful
Banana Slug, Banana Slug, They’re part of the circle.
Sticky as peanut butter, shade of yellow, Look like banana and oh so mellow
Good life givers, living on the ground, Chewing on leaves when they fall down.
On the side of their head there’s an all-purpose hole, they’ve got one foot and plenty of soul.
This is from a music CD entitled "Dirt Made My Lunch" by The Banana Slug String Band.  If you ever need a gift for kids, check them out. This group mades great educational music on topics of science and ecology.  

What's eating your garden today?

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site