If I were a snail and you were a slug
I’d sing your praise to every bug!
And tell a tail that few could match
About how you can lay and hatch
Your eggs yourself
As boy and girl.
No other critter can unfurl
twenty times its body length.
They haven’t got the flex or strength.
A slug can slip away inside
Through cracks and crevices small and wide.
That single foot it leaves no print,
It just sets down a slimy hint
For you to follow later when
You back track for a snack again.
A body-made road map comes in handy
When you crave some greenery candy!
Not just for you such trail is set
Your friends and family can also get
A meal from following the handy slime,
Lettuce fears your cartographic, gastric line!
Your eyes are stalks, you look like gel
You don’t even have a shell,
Or so some think, but they don’t know
That they should try to look below
The skin on your back for there it hides
Waiting a chance to ride the tides
Where your brother shellfish play and frolic
Oh what joy to be a mollusc.
By Diane Tucker 7/11/09
The slug is a fascinating creature. It is a shellfish, the cousin of a snail. Its shell is indeed invisibly located underneath skin on the back. They are hermaphrodites, having the sexual qualities of both male and female. Eggs laid will hatch only if conditions are moist.
Slugs can stretch themselves up to twenty times their original length, enabling them to fit into tight spaces. Their slime is laid down in a continuous trail that they can retrace to a satisfying food source. Their friends and relatives can follow it too. Snails have an interrupted slime line.
Snails and slugs are further a part of an animal group known as gastropods. These creatures move using a “foot” which propels the animal forward on slime, in the case of slugs and snails, and along a sandy shore bottom in the case of other molluscs. It is a single foot like any snail would have. Snails and slugs are related to octopus, clams, oysters and scallops.
This is a banner year for slugs. They love wet weather.
See you on the trails,
Diane Tucker, Estate Naturalist