P90421They are not as dangerous as they look. Really. If they were, just one could do more damage than an entire herd of average slugs. The fortunate truth is that banana slugs consume only decaying plant parts and fungus. Yes, they literally cruise about the garden eating bits of decomposing debris that we may not want there anyway, and converting it into a very nutritious and nitrogen rich ‘fertilizer’. They are actually beneficial to home gardening.
Of course, this does not necessarily mean that we ‘want’ them in our gardens. They really do look scary. This one is only about four inches long, but larger ones can get nearly twice as long! Some rats are not that big! Their bright yellow color, which is typically brighter yellow than this one is, is an expression of defiance. They only stay out of the way because they prefer damp and shady situations. Otherwise, they do not care if we see them.
Contrary to popular belief, they do not really taste like chicken. They taste more like the blandest of escargot. If not purged with corn meal and partly deslimed with vinegar, they can taste much worse. Even if the myth about the slime on their undersides containing more vitamin C than a bucket of oranges is true, it does not justify licking them. It is more degrading to you than it is to them; and no one needs that much vitamin C anyway!
As revolting as they are, they are not completely disdainful. It is fun to point them out to friends who have never seen them before, but only after they have gotten close enough to be startled, and jump away as if being chased by something that can actually move . . . quickly. Banana slug races are also fun.

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10 thoughts on “Banana Slug

  1. Not that I really want them, but it would be something exotic in my garden, instead of the brown sticky monsters that reduce some plants to nothing. I think of taking wonderful photos to show everyone. I don’t think that ever settled in Switzerland.

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  2. I suppose that because I live somewhere where we don’t have banana slugs I’d never heard that they might be a source of Vitamin C. I always learn something from your posts, Tony. I’ll take my vitamin C from a bottle.

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    1. It is probably a myth. It does not matter to me. I won’t be getting my vitamins C that way. Some of the kids at camp get a banana slug pin for kissing a banana slug. I really don’t know how they do that. I don’t want to know.

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  3. I’ve already sent this on to my friend who still shows up from time to time in her banana slug t-shirt. She pays attention to her health, but I don’t think she’d be in favor of slug-licking, either.

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    1. Is she an alum of the University of California at Santa Cruz? Banana slug is their mascot. One of the guys I work with actually wore a banana slug costume where he used to work (and he is rather ‘plump’).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No, but the family lived in the area for some time, and she developed an affection for the things. I believe the shirt was a gift from one of her nephews who still lives in the area. It certainly is a conversation starter.

        Liked by 1 person

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