The Gastropod Invasion

slug picture

photo courtesy of Derk Jacobs

The slugs have invaded our apartment. Leopard slugs, by my diagnosis. They're smaller than banana slugs, but only just. A good 4-5 inches long, fat and sassy, slick and slimy. How do they squeeze under the weatherstripping? Where are they heading?

Whose flag are they flying? Who sent them here?

Yoram thinks I should construct a Maginot Line of salt at points of apparent entrance and/or egress. His hypothesis is that the slugs will either go away, or they'll all become trapped inside our cool, dark grotto of an apartment.

The theory holds some water for me. After all, I've never seen a slug in a marguerita; the ring of salt 'round the rim must keep the interlopers at bay. Then again, as Yoram rightfully pointed out, margueritas are exceptionally well blended, and one would never know if a slug had found its way into the drink.

Why do I even care?

As household pests go, slugs are reasonably well behaved. They neither scamper, nor skitter; they neither sting, nor bark. They don't eat holes in sweaters, and they seem to be unable to breach the none-too-secure oatmeal carton on the high shelves (unlike the wily cereal moths). And unlike that unfortunate pup Oleo, they are not flea carriers.

So why is it that I find them strangely disturbing? Why do I cry out when I see them making slow progress across the kitchen floor? Maybe it's the trails that are suddenly sparkly when the light hits them just so. Maybe it's those same sparkly trails on the back of the sofa. Or just maybe it's the evidence of their military-style marches back and forth through the matted pile of the living room carpet.

Perhaps it's the shriveled remains of the escargot-sans-carapace I found just short of the back door -- a casulty of a bad sense of direction, no doubt.

All I can say is this: if I find a slug in my bed, in my shoes, on my bathtowel, I'm going to scream just as surely as if it were a scorpion.


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