Answer: Only it’s mother.
I have such a strong visceral and uncontrollable reaction when I see a slug that it has become disturbing to me, animal lover that I am. I have to say, though, that I’ve never done anything horrible like pour salt on them. I like to sit outside, at night, particularly after a rain, and take in the clean, woodsy smell, but I can’t take the slugs, or even the possibility of them.
How to combat, to transcend, or even rid myself of this animus?
Get to know them.
I discovered their role in our ecosystem: They consume decaying vegetation, dead leaves, fungi. Some are predator slugs. Cannibals. They eat their own kind (including snails, to whom they’re related) and earthworms. Some even feast on carrion.
If you think all slugs are the same, well, no. There are land slugs and there are marine slugs. There are vegetarian slugs and there are carnivorous slugs, but one characteristic they share is their need for moisture because their bodies, mostly water, are vulnerable to desiccation, or dehydration; hence, the mucus.
This mucus, bad-tasting and grab-resistant, protects them from predators. Additionally, fiber-filled, it prevents slugs from losing their grip. Slugs of different species can recognize each other’s mucus trails and often find mates this way (though they’re hermaphrodites, so I don’t know why they needs made, but, hey, everybody needs someone.)
So, where are they when we don’t see them?
Hiding. Beneath tree bark, planters, rocks and fallen logs – any place where they can hold on to moisture.
Okay, It’s Kinda Pretty. Kinda…
Yes, I found one I can sort of look at without recoiling. Look at it with me — the Banana Slug:
And it’s famous: It’s the mascot of the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), chosen by student athletes after the chancellor’s choice in 1981, sea lions, was rejected. ESPN Sports Travel named the college’s Banana Slug, Sammy, he’s called, as the best nickname in college basketball in 2008.
Am I in love yet?