Is There Anything Beneficial About Slugs?

March 29, 2017 | Posted In: General

Slugs are prominent creatures in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Anybody living in this region has most certainly encountered a slug at some point. Not only are slugs ugly looking creatures that inspire disgust in just about every individual that lays eyes on them, but they are also hated for their destructive impact on gardens. So is there anything good at all about these strange looking organisms?

According to slug expert, Beth Chisholm, slugs are basically nothing more than a stomach on a foot. Slugs are amazingly simple, and surprisingly beneficial organisms in the Pacific Northwest. For example, slugs are great decomposers. Slugs will break down vegetation and dead plant material, which is recycled into rich soil that is necessary to nourish the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest.

Slugs enjoy eating vegetation, and they do not discriminate between dead and living vegetation. Naturally, this is a problem for gardeners, as they do not appreciate their efforts to cultivate plants being thwarted by ugly slugs. However, slugs are indeed necessary in order to rid the environment of dead vegetation. Therefore gardeners should leave their plant-scraps on the ground with the hopes that the available dead vegetation will divert any slugs that show up hungry.

However, there are different types of slugs that thrive in North America, and some are more beneficial than others. The most slugs that offer the greatest benefit to the environment are banana slugs; these are the slugs that create soil from dead vegetation. The banana slug is native to North America, and if found in forest-regions around the US. The European brown slug, on the other hand, is, as you can guess from its name, an imposter. These slugs are found in urban areas, and they don’t offer the natural North American environment anything but problems. These slugs are found in urban areas, so if you happen to spot a slug on the sidewalk, you would probably be doing the environment a favor by squashing it.

Have you ever stepped on a slug before, either deliberately or by accident?