I know slugs leave shiny trails, they slough off dirt and toxins in a layer of slime that they then leave behind. They do not seem to be rushed. They are prolific and successful. They are hermaphroditic. They can climb vertical walls and smooth glass, even occasionally traveling upside down. They like beer. .Their protective coating is amazing. If conditions are not right, they go to sleep; some can sleep for years and then wake up when things are right. They are smart enough to stay out of the sun, no skin cancer for them. So what was the slug trying to tell me? I know I should think twice if someone offers me lots of beer. The NSA is recording and analyzing my trail. I try not to be rushed. Vertical wall climbing is part of my long ago past. Maybe the message had something to do with the hermaphroditic aspect and the fact that most slugs can even mate with themselves. Maybe the slug on my threshold was telling me to "Go f... myself." Coming from a slug, I doubt that message has the derogatory implications it has coming from a human. I never really understood why that phrase should be so derogatory anyway. Maybe the slug was telling me I should work on my protective aura or my sleep time.
I have a book, The Secret World of Slugs and Snails, Live in the Very Slow Lane, by David George Gordon, 2010. There are a few things from the book worth passing on. First, don't try to wash off slug slime. Slug slime is hydrophilic, it loves water, and you just get a larger volume of slime. Instead, thoroughly wipe the slime off on a dry towel before washing. Alternately, rub the slime between your hands until it acts like rubber cement and then scrape it off. Next, some slugs are intermediate hosts of some parasites and also are known to harbor salmonella, so it is best to clean your hands after handling slugs or slug slime and not to kiss pet slugs. On a related note, long ago, I was on a field trip in Discovery Park, Seattle when the ranger giving the tour spotted a banana slug. She said she would lick the slug if anyone else would. She was cute, and this was kinky enough for me to agree. Banana slug slime has a anesthetic effect and causes a little numbness on your tongue. Some Native Americans used it for tooth and gum aches. I suffered no ill effects from the experience.
The book gives a recipe for cooking snails. It says to remove the slime, soak the snails for four hours in a container with a tight fitting lid using water containing two tablespoons of salt and one tablespoon of vinegar per each twelve snails. I imagine that works for slugs too, but I am not sure I will be the first to do that experiment. Lastly, the book mentions that some species of slugs have a garlic flavor in their slime that may deter predation. I know from experience eating marine snails collected near Alki Beach that one snail, either the Leafy Horn Mouth or the Oregon Triton has a natural garlic flavor. It is hard to tell them apart when they are out of their shells. Also, I may have my id wrong anyway.
By Chuck Nafziger
June 10, 2014