Bananas!

May 3, 2013

Bananas!

May 3, 2013
Reading Time: 3 minutes

We interrupt our canine shenanigans to bring you Critter Watch---an educational short---because I like critters.

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I see a lot of these little fellas hanging out in the dog garden and I wondered why they hung out there. So I did a little googling. Turns out, they like to feed on leaves, mushrooms and animal droppings (that's a scientific term for dog poop) and recycle them into humus.  No, it's not that creamy, tangy Middle Eastern delight, hummus (because if I was thinking it, then you were too), but that organic matter that contributes to the texture of soil with moisture and nutrient retention. Soil humus (one "m" not two) reaches such a state of stability that it can no longer break down and remains for centuries or a milennia.  Holy Humus that's a long time!

In addition to soil humus, banana slugs also excrete nitrogen rich fertilizer.

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"Yup, that's right, I'm not just another pretty face. I may only move 6.5 inches per minute but I have a huge role in your ecological system."

Slugs are not very family oriented. To start, they are hermaphrodites and reproduce by exchanging sperm with their mate. They mate several times per year laying up to 75 eggs per hatching, which are hidden in logs or leaves.  As soon as the eggs are laid, the adult takes off and abandons the eggs!  Harsh much?

So basically, they mate, pop out the eggs and split. Talk about not having any strings.

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"What do you take me for? A stay-at-home Mom to 75 slimy babies while the slug who knocked me up took off?"

Banana slugs are also low on the food chain, sometimes eaten by racoons, snakes, ducks, geese or salamanders. To make them go down easier, they roll the slug in soil to bind the slime. Now that's fusion sushi!

Slugs are notoriously shy and retract their tentacles when threatened. The upper tentacles are their eyestalks which detect light and movement and the lower pair detect chemicals.

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"Peek-a-boo!"

Slugs are also excellent character actors:

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"Are you talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here."

Slugs have it all: an important job, no parental responsibilities and talented personalities. I guess it wouldn't be so bad to come back in life as a slug. Except for the part about eating dog poop. Or the part about being rolled into a sushi ball just before a raccoon swallows you. I don't think I'd like those parts.

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3 comments on “Bananas!”

  1. I kind of scrolled through without reading. Just couldn't take those slug photos.

    Apparently where my brother lives up in Sonoma county, they have a slug fest every year, complete with slug based food. Oh my.
    Mango Momma

  2. you don't want to run over one of these guys on an MTB. They stick to the tires and attract dirt which comes off as you speed downhill. not very pleasant...

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