When It Rains...

Arion rufus

...the slugs come out to play.  Meet Arion rufus, the Red Slug.  He/she (since they are both you can choose either one) is one of the iconic creatures of the Pacific Northwest.  Yesterday's rain produced nearly a dozen on my front patio this morning.  They come to clean up any left-over seed from the bird feeders.  If given a chance, they will also clean up my Nasturtiums.  Their association with rain has led some to proclaim, "it's raining slugs."  One of the joys of Northwest living is cleaning slime trails off your glass doors.  Lest you come to think they have no redeeming purpose, remember, they have been assigned the chore of cleaning up nature's trash.

They will eat almost anything, animal or vegetable, including the stuff that dogs leave behind.  Now, that's a sight to behold.  They are particularly fond of my Hostas.  I also have the little black ones, Arion ater.  Once, I encountered a Black Slug being swallowed by a Garter Snake.  The reptile must have been very hungry.  Both the Red and Black Slugs are European immigrants.  The native Northwest species is the Banana Slug, Ariolimax columbianus.  This one is a giant and quite the beautiful creature.  It is also threatened due to competition and predation by the introduced species.

As you might expect, this mascot of rain country has significant cultural status.  Eugene, Oregon crowns a Slug Queen and Northwest Trek hosts a Slug Fest.  Tourists will find slug trinkets readily available, and they are the subjects of great literature.  Enjoy this excerpt from David Greenberg's book of poetry:

Swallow a Slug
By its tail or its snout
Feel it slide down
Feel it climb out

Weather Statistics for August, 2010

TemperatureHigh 79.6° FLow 48.1° FMean 57.6° F
Rainfall0.74 inch 
WindHigh 29.0 mphAverage 1.4 mphDom Dir SW

South Fidalgo Station Data (See Climate page for complete climatological data)

Comments

  1. LOL! I was thinking about doing a post on slugs, too! I might do one tomorrow. My younger daughter *loves* picking up slugs and wanted me to take some pictures of her holding them to put on my blog. ;) My kids and I are fascinated by slugs, and I enjoyed your post! I like how you put this: "they have been assigned the chore of cleaning up nature's trash." :-)

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  2. You should do one, JayLeigh. The little slime-bots don't get any respect.

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